APS attack: Love can move mountains, part rivers and change Pakistan
I used to hear about a condition often faced by writers called ‘writer’s block’, which entails the writer losing the ability to produce new work or experiencing a creative slowdown. Not that I can call myself a writer but I have certainly had some sort of a block for nearly six years, when it came to penning something down.
It coincides almost precisely with the time I left my beloved Pakistan, and I couldn’t quite understand why.
I used to wonder whether it was because I had left all the richness of my beautiful country and its people behind which was fuel to my words. Making numerous attempts to pen something, I repeatedly found myself unable to wax poetic about anything. And yet, suddenly, the events of December 16, 2014, also known as Pakistan’s Black Day, have almost forced me to drag myself out of that state and inscribe something, anything.
There is something so deep about this pain, so visceral. It is that something which connects us on a level beyond our flesh and bones. And that something wants to be heard. And that something wants to use what little means it has, a few words at the very least, to scream and tell its story. The story of our humanity, the story of our life and our deepest purpose. A purpose we have all forgotten a long time ago.
There was once a place where we all bore witness to a transcendental being. We gave Him our promise. We took the burden that every other creature in the universe refused to take, yet we took it upon ourselves, the burden of representing our highest self. And then we forgot. We got so lost in this world of our egos that we forgot to see beyond the forms that imprison us.
I felt my heart bleed each day as I saw images upon images of those innocent souls whose light was extinguished in a moment of pure ignorance. I read about the dangers we face as a country and as a species which leaves no doubt in my mind that we are living in times of unprecedented conflict but I’m also certain that in the midst of all of this lies, our greatest opportunity for change.
My initial thoughts were to pen down the usual issues – what is wrong with Pakistan, how our leaders have failed us and the likes. However, I will spare my readers all of that as I know many before me have written about it and done a far better job at it then I can possibly do. So instead, I will write about something that is of supreme importance today. These words are about the dormant power within each and every one of us that can bring about the change we all so desperately long for.
And that power is love. Yes, I shall repeat, it is love. Only love can change us and transform us, heal us and liberate us. Many before me have said it and many after will continue to do so. And five months after the APS Peshawar attack, I believe this message needs to be reiterated all the more.
The world today lives in conflict not because Pakistan alone, amongst other countries, has terrorists within its wake but because we as a species have ignored our inner world where demons have festered for hundreds of decades, and now they have appeared in the form of climate crisis, hunger, war, terrorism, consumerism, addictions – just to name a few. We have created this reality for ourselves by breeding demons of jealousy, anger, hatred and greed within ourselves and we alone are responsible for changing it. We keep asking questions and we keep coming up with solutions – change the politicians, nuke the enemy, hang the terrorists, boycott certain nations and the list goes on and on and on. Yet, these are all band aid measures for a disease that runs way deeper. It is the disease of our souls.
Some may say this is all airy-fairy talk, yet the entire universe functions on this one principle – the principle of love. Without love we would not exist. And all of our great theologians, mystics, writers and poets of all times and of all religions point to the same, one truth. We are so fortunate to belong to a faith which only speaks of love yet so unfortunate that today, we take religion to be the rituals and the outwardly forms only, without any inner dimension whatsoever. Yet how can those forms ever satisfy us unless we are moved from within the depths of our very being. And such hypocrisy is precisely what has turned religion into an ego-centred instrument of chaos.
The reality is we all long to be loved because it is our very essence. And the road that can take us there is that of spirituality. The world today is in desperate need for us to turn our focus within. This path has always been there, beckoning us to travel to our real home. It has been traversed for centuries by our very own prophets and saints who have left signs for those who choose to wake up. Some call it Sufism or tasawuf or the path of love; call it what you may, ultimately it is there to take you on the only real journey worth undertaking in this illusory and temporary world.
While there may be those who will disagree with me but I will say this again, loud and clear, there will be no change in this world without love. Until and unless we learn to love fully, each and every one of us, without conditions, beyond faiths, creeds, race and colour, we will keep witnessing this mayhem because the only force in this universe that has the power to change it, is the power of love. Its currents can move mountains, cause rivers to part, the moon to split into two and it is the only essence that will see us rise to the next level.
Learn to love.
Love yourself, your family, your friends, your neighbours, even your enemy and let the power of love then show you what it can do. As one of our venerated saints, Mahmud Shabistari, once said,
“‘I’ and ‘You’ are but the lattices,
In the niches of a lamp,
Through which the One light shines.
‘I’ and ‘You’ are the veil,
Between heaven and earth;
Lift this veil and you will see
No longer the bonds of sects and creeds.”
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.