The Power of Prayer

Tags

“Verily your Lord is Generous and Shy. If His servant raises his hands to Him (in supplication) He becomes shy to return them empty” (Ahmad, Abu Dawood, Tirmidhi)

Few weeks ago during the Friday’s sermon (Juma’a: Muslim’s weekly religious holiday), the Imam spoke about prayer and what would it take for our prayers to be answered by Allah. It was so refreshing to be reminded of how we are so close to our Creator; so close that we can pray in silence, anywhere, anytime!

We get so busy in our daily lives, pursuing knowledge, building a career or raising a family. Life is full of challenges; some days we can work our way around it, some days it just doesn’t work. Looking back, I realized that if we prayed for Allah to solve our problems, Allah will answer it the best way possible for us. Therefore, Instead of spending our days dwelling into the things that are not working, we should use the power of prayer to let go of our struggle to the Creator and ask for Allah’s guidance and wisdom.

It is easier said than done, I know, but we should keep trying!

“O Allah, I beg you to grant me health and faith, faith with good conduct, success followed by further success, mercy and healing, and your forgiveness and your satisfaction”

Amen.

Guess whos coming to dinner…

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Norah and I hosted a dinner on Eid ul Azha. Like all balanced, diverse teams we each brought in our own, distinct strengths in the planning and execution of the event. The result was a beautiful evening, complete with beautiful invites, a slideshow about eid that we projected on our tv, arab music, flowers, candles, lanterns, exotic food with cute, little placards (that our friend Ameerah made) describing the fattoush, feta-hummus, mudajera, aloo bhujia, kheer and gulab jamun. We both wore our Pakistani and Palestinian dresses respectively and looked relatively composed as we graciously hosted, although, just several hours ago, we were, in no random order, running around getting groceries, setting stuff, and, cooking up a Muslim (read Arab, Pakistani) storm with Norah entering the kitchen 2 hours before the party (pl note we had no food to serve at this point) screaming ‘lets do this !’ and we did!

But not without the loving support of our housemates, who ended up helping out with the frantic, last minute chores-lily filled the ice bucket, lindsey got flowers for the room, lauren’s excitement rubbed off on all of us and our guests.

After a few comments about eid, a brief description of the food and an introduction of all our housemates, everyone helped themselves to food, ate heartily and there were happy conversations all around.

The party truly reminded me of how rich our differences make this world-the Union community intermingled with their cousins from the Schools of Social Work, SIPA, Earth Sciences, Sustainability Management and Journalism at Columbia. There was ofcourse an interspersing of religions-Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus. There was a sprinkling of countries-America, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, India, Belgium, Cuba, Algeria and Israel. One of Norah’s friends was a bright young woman running her own not-for-profit that works to build inter-faith alliances-she spoke 5 languages, among them Hebrew, Arabic, French.

Last, but definitely not the least, was a friend of Norah’s with whom I had such great conversation throughout the evening. We spoke about her work, my experience of moving to NYC, the keratin treatment she had recently gotten done and my keratin experience that I had done about a year ago. When the time came to say goodbye, I asked where she was from. When she said Israel, both our face expressions communicated feelings of surprise, pleasant shock, an immediate break down of perception held for a lifetime, all at the same time. Without having to say a single word, we understood the rapid speed at which our minds experienced the rush of fast-changing thoughts, as if, we had experienced the wisdom of a lifetime in a few seconds. We both laughed. We didnt have to ‘say’ anything to each other. I told her she was the first Israeli person I had ever met and asked her to come over more often, something i genuinely meant from the bottom of my heart.

Later in the night, when cleaning up, I told Norah, ‘Norah, do you realize an Israeli person celebrated Eid with us tonite? That is HUGE ! I think we can give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done.’

After cleaning up we shut the kitchen light off, and, went to bed feeling happy for we had indeed achieved something special.

Eid ul Fitar Mubarak !

Signing off with a small prayer for peace for all humanity,

Ayesha.

 

 

A reflection on multivocality and empathy

     Last year in Israel, I was part of the Encounter Leadership Seminar, where we as future Jewish leaders worked on becoming productive agents of change around the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.  I spent time in the West Bank, including Hebron, Ramallah, and Bethlehem, and also in East Jerusalem, and I listened to stories.  I heard Palestinian narratives of living under occupation, of how growing up in a refugee camp hardened their hope for a peaceful solution to the conflict, and how members of their family had resorted to violence out of desperation.  I heard stories that confirmed some of my already-held beliefs, and I heard stories that challenged me to confront my own fixed narratives.  I began to “complexify” my own understanding of the conflict. 

     It wasn’t always comfortable, but my experience with Encounter – and in general my experience in difficult conversations – is that I feel more alive during the conversation.   There’s this sense of “Okay, if I can just live with this discomfort that I’m experiencing right now, and not let it hold me back from engaging in the conversation, then I can really learn something here.”  I’ve found that I crave those experiences when I’m not having them, because there is a deep desire within me to transcend my own boundaries.   

     Unfortunately, those encounters didn’t happen naturally during my first few years of rabbinical school.  I felt like the scope of the conversations that I was a part of kept shrinking and shrinking.  While my classmates and I spent most of our time holed up in the beit midrash, trying to master the Talmud and gain a working knowledge of a really broad range of Jewish text, I found myself growing less and less capable of carrying on meaningful conversations with people who weren’t rabbinical students.  I forgot that most people outside of this sphere don’t really understand why learning Talmud might be important, and I had actually lost sight of why it might be important myself.  Each section of Talmud became a brainteaser activity, an argument to be decoded and understood, rather than a window into deeper values and ideas.  I wanted to have a deep emotional connection with the material that I was learning, but more often than not, I emerged from the experience feeling empty. 

     Experiences like Encounter and pastoral education brought me out of that bubble, and reminded me that as a future rabbi, the primary Torah that I’m bringing into the world is the Torah of empathy, and a desire to listen through discomfort.  How do we hear what’s being said, and how do we even hear what’s not being said?  How do we, as rabbis, respond to individuals in crisis or moments of deep spiritual struggle?  How do we resist the temptation to say that our way is the only authentic expression of the Jewish tradition, and instead allow for a range of truth?  How do we meet people wherever they are at in a process of spiritual growth?

     I think that part of our training as rabbis has to include opportunities to listen to those whom we identify as the “other,” and not just as dilettantes.  It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to be involved in this interfaith community.  Our world is multivocal, and so our training should enable us to meet that multivocality with both openness and a strong sense of self.  This includes listening to diverse voices within Judaism and outside of it, and building ongoing relationships that help us break out of the rigidity of our comfort zones. 

     Bringing it back to the here and now – we had the opportunity in the Womb to really dig deep and engage on a personal level with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict last week.  There were a lot of tears, and definitely feelings of push, pull, and tension, but I told the group that I think it was a watershed moment for us in building community.  We’ve created a space where we can really share our full selves, and one in which we can hold each other in our idiosyncrasies and processes of becoming.  It’s an amazing gift, and one that I’m hoping to be able to share with my rabbinical school community as much as possible.

A Secular, Body-Positive, Middle School Ministry

As I work to reclaim my own, I’ve been thinking a lot about bodies and their appropriation for others’ use and abuse.

Ever have a moment when two seemingly independent activities in your life crash into each other with such force that it nearly brings you to your knees?

My wonderful friend Ben invited me to help him coach a middle school running club on Friday afternoons. I happily agreed, thinking this would be a great time for some good money.

My first time coaching, Ben couldn’t make it. I pulled on my Nikes and headed down Broadway toward the Great Hill in Central Park. It was sprinkling and for twenty minutes I reflected on my time spent in athletics and what I wanted to bring to my first coaching role.

Running sixth grade intramural track was one of the more humiliating experiences of my childhood. By far the slowest on the team, I always came in last during our mile runs and 100-meter dashes. My mom didn’t let me quit much as a kid, but I was so mortified she let me bag it after the first week.

After a tremendous growth spurt my limbs started working a little better, and I played high school and college athletics. These endeavors were always about the team, always about what the coach wanted from me, always about the fans in the crowd, never really actually about me, even though the experiences were often gratifying.

That’s not to say that team sports aren’t about teamwork and competition, but I realized that often I had been pushed to the point of injury, that no one bothered to teach me how to check in with my body, that drinking water out of turn was considered weak. My body wasn’t my own. This type of coaching led to needing a major foot surgery, a horrific ankle injury, and bouts of dehydration that sent me to the hospital. What troubles me is I sensed my body was being pushed too hard, but no one invited me or taught me how to be fully present to what was happening. The message I got when I tried to speak up was always “Suck it up, kid.”

On that walk to Central Park I realized many of the dysfunctional messages I received about my own agency over my own body came from my experiences in athletics. In athletics, saying “no” was tantamount to getting benched or cut from the team. Claiming my agency was unacceptable—my body and health suffered because of it.

It would be different this time. I wanted to make sure if these kids got any message from me whatsoever it would be that their bodies are their own and that they are entitled to taking care of them. There would be an invitation to push themselves as hard as they felt was healthy.

We talked about setting intentions for practice, about self-affirmations and about affirming their teammates in non-competitive ways. We ran drills that focused on form and everyone ran for the same amount of time, no matter how much distance we could cover in order to focus on doing our best and not coming in first or last. I coached each of them based on the intentions they set: to stay positive, to focus on form, to pace oneself, to get fit.

The following week, when I asked the team to set their intentions for our practice, the most pubescent of the boys said, “I want to stay in touch with my body during this practice.”

I nearly crumpled to my knees and wept. What would the world be like if every child were taught to be so conscious of the radical notion that everyone should have full agency over oneself?

 

Embedded in this notion is that one also cannot own anyone else.

 

How would my life have been altered if people—men, parents, coaches—did not behave as though they had agency over my body?

 

It took one hour to teach and coach five children to embody this simple lesson. 

 

I’m learning that one of the most exciting prospects of ministry is this: the opportunities to teach and learn about love of self and other are everywhere—and yet they still catch you totally, breathlessly by surprise. I never thought that I would find an access point to healing our [rape, racist, etc.] culture in coaching a middle school running club. I could feel my own healing and the world’s healing in the sense of deep self-respect I saw sink into that child’s eyes. For the first time, I felt like a minister. And I am so grateful.  

Song Circles

In addition to the Residency Program, one of the most powerful, grounding, filling, meaningful aspects of my semester has been a weekly women’s song circle. We try to gather once each week for about an hour in a small chapel on campus.

I’m not the best singer in the world; still, I have fond memories of song groups. When I was in elementary school, my home church had “Choir Club” each week for several years. We’d walk to the church from school, have snacks and then spend some time singing songs. In late-elementary or middle school, our music teacher formed a group that gathered before school and sang. Singing was an important part of summer camp. I was in spirit-filling gospel choir in college. We danced to music last week when my cousin got married, and it might not have been a true Tinker gathering if the guitar didn’t come out one night for singing of folk songs in the living room of the B&B. The list goes on…

I’m not the best singer in the world, but Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah” can bring needed tears on a heartache day; India.Arie’s “I Am Light” is a new mantra; hearing Pachelbel’s Canon at the doctor’s office calms my heart; “I Feel Lucky” by Mary Chapin Carpenter takes me back to that determination to beat cancer; Ruthie Foster’s version of “Woke up this Morning” makes me want to march; listening to Sister Rosetta Tharpe sing “Down by the Riverside” brought me a little bit of joy that morning when we were with Grandma as she took her last breath; and forevermore, John Lennon’s “Imagine” will take me back to that night during Ramadan when we sat with Bu Syafa on the stage at Cak Nun’s home outside of Jogja. Kristen had the lead mic, the gamelon band took the instrumentals; and there, together with the hundreds of Muslim brothers and sisters sitting in the crowd, we were dreaming aloud for a better world.

About once a week, we join together. Four or five of us (give or take). We check in with each other. And we sing. We bring songs that are on our hearts, or tunes that we’ve been humming. Usually they don’t involve many words, just simple melodies that we can repeat over and over, play with, go deep with. Sometimes, we really let go and we sing ourselves into something that is beautifully and powerfully beyond any desire I have to comprehend.

We have the benefit of a few really strong singers, a sense of solidarity, a plethora of emotional joys and struggles. We’re embarking on big journeys, lost in new beginnings, finding our way, hurting and happy, sure and unsure, heartbroken and in love…And, together, we create a space for holding and honoring those things and putting little bits of ourselves into the music coming from our mouths and hearts.

If you get the chance, I’d recommend it. It takes a little bit of crazy, a lot of humility, a pinch of healthy vulnerability, and a willingness (maybe even a need) to empty…to just let go. A simple recipe for a powerfully simple and simply powerful experience. I’ll try to remember to add links to a couple of songs that might be good starting places.

The Ahl al Kitab (The People of the Book)

According to the Prophet Mohammed (Peace be Upon Him), the Jews and Christians were the spiritual cousins or the ‘People of the Book’. They worshipped the same God, read the same scriptures and shared the same moral values as his muslim community. Although each faith comprised its own individual ‘Ummah’ (Nation or Community), together they formed one united Ummah of monotheistic pluralism.

“All those who believe-the Jews, the Sabians, the Christians-anyone who believes in God and the last days, and who does good deeds, will have nothing to fear or regret’ (Quran, Surah 5: Verse 69).
It was this conviction of a unified Ummah that led Mohammed (PBUH) to connect his community to the Jews, not to emulate, or, to facilitate their acceptance of him as a Prophet, but to align his community with the Jews and Christians who he considered to be part of his Ummah.

When the Prophet (PBUH) came to Medina he made the site of the temple in Jerusalem the ‘Qiblah’ or direction to pray for the muslims as was the practice of the Jews of Medina. He imposed mandatory fast on the tenth day (‘Ashura’) of the first month in the Jewish calendar, the day more commonly known as Yom Kippur. He purposely set the day of muslim congregation at noon on Friday so it would coincide with, but not disrupt, Jewish preparations for the Sabbath. The Qiblah changed from Jerusalem to Mecca and the fasting from Yom Kippur to Ramadan (the month in which the Quran was first revealed) as Islam matured as a religion. However, Mohammed continued to encourage his followers to fast on Yom Kippur and Jerusalem remained a most venerated holy city.
Until he died, he continued to have peaceful discourse and not theological debate with the Jews of Arabia.
”Do not argue with the People of the Book-apart from those individuals who act unjustly toward you-unless it is in a fair way” (Quran, 29:46)
The Prophet’s effect was lasting as through the first two centuries of Islam, Muslims regularly read the Torah alongside the Quran.
The Quran is a ‘confirmation of previous scriptures’ (12:111). It proposes that all revealed scriptures are derived from a single, concealed book on heaven, the ‘Umm al Kitab’ (‘Mother of all Books’) (13:39). As far as Mohammed understood the Torah, the Gospels and the Quran must be read as a single narrative abut humanity’s relation to God in which prophetic consciousness is passed down spiritually: from Adam to Mohammed.
‘We believe in God, and in that which has been revealed to us, which is that which was revealed to Abraham and Ismail and Jacob and the tribes of Israel as well as that which the Lord revealed to Moses and to Jesus and to all the other Prophets. We make no distinction between any of them; we submit ourselves to God.’ (3:84)
This morning I woke up and read a few verses from the Quran which is my daily practice, I went to the Jewish Theological Seminary at Columbia University, prayed in congregation and read the stories of Isaac’s birth and God’s wrath on Lot’s town of Sodom from the Book of Genesis, which, while more descriptive, were the exact same stories I have grown up reading in the Quran.
I spoke briefly about Eid ul Azha and read Abraham’s story of almost sacrificing Ismail from the Quran (37:99-109). After the prayer ended, we all shook hands, had coffee and we (my Palestinian housemate Norah & I) were thanked immensely by a warm congregation. In the end, Lauren, our housemate who’s a Rabbinical student at the Seminary, saw each one of us out but not without a warm embrace.

As a muslim, I feel like i connected with the ‘Ahl al Kitab’, the extended Ummah. I feel through divine intervention Alhamdolilah, i landed on the very two pages in the book that the above facts and comments are taken from. For the first time ever, I can ‘feel’ what it must have felt like to live in Mohammed’s Medina. Its a very good feeling.

The comments prior to my own experience at the seminary have been borrowed heavily from Reza Aslan’s ‘No god but God’ (pg. 100-102). Those of you who haven’t read my earlier blogs or dont know me personally should know that I think Reza is a stud ! I dont think he has a bigger fan 🙂

Ayesha

Thinking about ritual – what’s the essence?

Tags

, , ,

In “The Womb,” we’re starting to plan our interfaith women’s chapel service at Union, which is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 18th at 12:30pm (stay tuned!).  Lindsey asked us this framing question:  How would we like to transform people in this service?  And it got us all thinking about what it means to create ritual woven together from our separate stories, ritual that brings together our particular languages, theologies, and practices, but has the power to transform people emotionally.  How can we create ritual that is both embodied and honest to our core beliefs?   Some ideas we brainstormed included sharing blessings over bread, prostrating ourselves toward the east, singing niggunim (wordless melodies) that are connected to the shared idea of angels in our traditions, and weaving cloth representing our traditions together.  I also want for us to share stories, vignettes that speak to our unique experiences of universal emotions and struggles.   It’s a tall order for a half-hour block of time.

I’m also thinking about ritual in its particular Jewish context, because I’m teaching a class this semester at my synagogue internship called “Why Do We Do What We Do?”  We’re exploring Jewish practice and ritual from a number of different contexts and lenses, including historical, halakhic (Jewish law), spiritual practice, theological, and others, with the hope of deepening and informing our practice of those rituals.  In this blog post, I want to explain about how I approach ritual within a Jewish context so that we can think together about our practice of ritual, what it’s supposed to accomplish, and how it affects our religious/spiritual/cultural identities.

In my first class this past Thursday night, I brought a particular framework to the analysis of ritual that my teacher, Rabbi Ranon Teller, taught me.  In Jewish law, regarding the blessings we say over particular foods, there’s an idea that one must identify which food is the ikar, the primary or essential food, and which food is the tafel, the subsidiary component.  For example, if I’m eating french friends with ketchup, the french fries would be considered the ikar, and I need to make a blessing over them. The ketchup is the tafel, because I’m only eating it as a condiment for the fries, and wouldn’t be eating it just by itself, and therefore I don’t make a separate blessing over the ketchup.  Why is this important?  Because saying blessings over food isn’t about a rote action, or some kind of mathematical equation that is uniform for every person and every meal.  It’s about intention:  thinking about our desire for food as we sit down to eat and why it is that we’re eating.  Directing that kind of mindfulness inward will, hopefully, help us eat more slowly and with more gratitude to the Source of our food.

Later on, this idea of ikar and tafel is expanded to mean essence and vehicle.  The ikar, the essence, is the most important thing, the big idea that we’re supposed to understand, the core concept.  The tafel is the vehicle or agent by which that ikar is transmitted.  It is the physical, tangible container that is able to hold the big, amorphous concept.  Clifford Geertz said it this way in his definition of a symbol:

Any object, act, event, quality, or relation which serves as a vehicle for a conception – the conception is the symbol’s “meaning”…

[Symbols are] tangible formulations of notions, abstractions from experience fixed in perceptible forms, concrete embodiments of ideas, attitudes, judgments, longings, or beliefs.

Through symbols, we make our core ideas real and accessible.  We connect to these concepts through tangible actions and activities.

Judaism as a religion and as a civilization is interested in our spiritual formation as ethical and moral, intellectually curious people who work for equality and justice in the world.*  Those are broad, universal concepts that could be shared by any religious or cultural grouping.  However, each tradition has its own particular way of approaching and transmitting those core, essential concepts.  Judaism has a particular language and set of symbols (what I’m calling the tafel) that is designed to teach the ikar.  

These rituals and symbols also have value beyond the big ideas that they transmit – they also perpetuate our particular culture and connect communities to each other.  They help us to hold steady in a chaotic, confusing world and give us anchors to hold onto.  They help us to reach beyond ourselves, backwards and forward in time and space.  And my hope is that ritual can also be profoundly transformative.  Geertz also wrote:

In a ritual, the world as lived and the world as imagined, fused under the agency of a single set of symbolic forms, turns out to be the same world.

We talk about “the world as it is” and “the world as it should be.”  In Jewish language, that’s often expressed as olam hazeh and olam habah – this world and the world to come.  Often in our perception, those two worlds exist in completely separate dimensions from each other.  But ritual fuses our aspirations for the world to come into the reality of the here and now.  Take lighting Shabbat candles, for example, which I taught about in my first class.  In a single, brief moment of bringing light into a dark room, we also have the power to bring about a profound transition into sacred time.  We slow down and see the sun setting through our windows, a transition in time that happens every single day, but on this day, Shabbat, we honor it as sacred, separate, holy.  Lighting candles is about setting a day apart that is honored, full of joy, where we stop trying to change, work, create, and just experience the world’s beauty for what it is.  All of Shabbat is like that, but the ritual of lighting candles to bring in Shabbat is the action that joins this world to the eternity of the world to come.

I wrote this post to try to clarify my own thinking about ritual, so if you have questions and/or thoughts, or if anything wasn’t so clear, I’d love to hear what you’re thinking.  

 

*These are three of the concepts that were identified in the recent Pew Forum survey as the most important attributes that Jews say are essential to being Jewish.  The top attribute was “remembering the Holocaust,” followed by “leading an ethical and moral life,” “working for justice/equality,” and “being intellectually curious.”  More information here:  http://www.pewforum.org/2013/10/01/chapter-3-jewish-identity/

‘Mitti’ (Urdu for ‘Earth’)

Islam is a very communal religion. The bonds of religion break down national, racial and socio-economic borders most effectively-I’ve only recently realized this after moving to NYC-a big reason behind this is the standardised, uniform ritual practice-so while fasting during Ramzan, or praying in the Friday congregation prayers at the UN secretariat I get a deep sense of community.
The pilgrimage (Hajj), which incidentally is about to end in Mecca and which culminates in the 2nd biggest Muslim religious celebration of Eid ul Azha, manages to break down the gender-divide as well (all Muslim praying is gender-segregated except the Hajj). Although I haven’t been, but the images of Muslims circumventing the Kaaba at Mecca appear to be one big, white blob (the pilgrimage dress is white with no adornments whatsoever). Ideally, when a Muslim person dies, his/her body is bathed and clothed/enshrouded in the same, white clothes he wore at the Hajj, before he/she is buried.


(Digressing a little-While Indians and Pakistanis are culturally very similar, Pakistanis have a much better popular music scene-ask any Indian and he will grudgingly acquiesce). The youtube link is a song by a Pakistani band, Junoon, called ‘Mitti’ ‘Mitti’ literally means the earth. What the singer croons is essentially this, ‘All our dreams, our secrets, our songs, all our worldly possesisons-everything-will get mixed with the earth. We will leave empty-handed & take nothing but our deeds’
When I saw my grand mother’s frail body enshrouded tightly in its white cloth, I felt the power of this song like never before.

Signing off on these thoughts of egalitarianism, humility and simplicity…

Ayesha

Women’s Night – Happiness

Just over two weeks ago, the Interfaith Women’s Residency Program hosted the first of several Women’s Nights of the semester. When we initially planned for the event, we decided to subtitle it “radical women’s self care.” I’ve been thinking about it in those terms ever since, though nothing about the evening (or us!) seemed particularly radical in the conventional sense of the term.

The five of us welcomed about eight women over the course of the evening. We prepared snacks and our friend Kristen brought desserts; Ayesha lit the candles. We had a relatively unstructured evening of discussion, laughter and getting-to-know one another. Aside from a couple of discussion prompts, conversation flowed freely as friends from each of our lives came to know one another. It was lovely. A Saturday night in. Songs of laughter; dancing in the form of introductory hugs, handshakes and shuffling chairs as more women joined the circle; decadence of desserts and simple snacks; entertainment of stories shared.

Sometimes, simply pausing in the midst of it all can seem like a radical act.

image image(3) image(5)

(Also, random fact: if you Google search ‘defied,’ the first example for the definition of defy (“openly resist or refuse to obey”) is “a woman who defies convention.”)

No god but God (read also I love Reza Azlan)

When you discover people who inspire you, its a very encouraging feeling.

I ve come back to the academia after 10 years of burning the midnight’s oil in the corporate world.
My life is in a state of flux-I’m not sure where I am and I’m really not sure where I’m headed.

Reading Reza Azlan’s books ‘fulfils’ me.
His writings reinforce some of my existing religious beliefs and make me re-think some of them.
He makes me see my religion (Islam) in a new light.
Its like you saw this rose everyday of your life when leaving home for work, but, today, you see so many more shades of its beautiful color, and, experience so many more depths of the soft texture it has to offer.
His research is meticulous, detailed, truly scholarly.
When he speaks(I recently attended one of his book talks), he explains like a real teacher imparting knowledge, the pursuit of which, I’ve concluded is what its all about.
Despite his ample mental faculties, he manages to remain humble with a great sense of humour.

People such as him are doing more of a public service than they realise-they teach, inpire and mentor (albeit distantly) many towards a better world.
I hope to be one among these many.

More than anything else, he inspires me so, amid the madness, I can stop and smell those beautiful roses!

Sending out sunshine & positivity to the Universe,
Ayesha