A rather popular quote has been stuck in my head for a couple of days now, and that is a sign I need to sit down to write about it. I gave it a thought and my mind had been contributing ideas to what I wanted to write, but right now as I sat on my laptop with these words, the mind kept quiet; which means I’m just going to write freestyle.
And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.
– The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
It was in between 2006-2009 when I read this book. My English teacher, Ms Ng Bak Hon, whom I had grown to love dearly, was a stern woman whose presence could send chills down your spine. For me, at least, I didn’t dare talk or do anything at assembly if she was on duty; it was like she had eyes all over the place. She knew what time we usually arrived at assembly, and she knew what each of us was reading, and if we had been reading something for too long. You see, when I was in school, reading was a culture introduced by Ms Ng. Everywhere we went we had to carry a book. There was no such thing as chit-chatting or just waiting. Our time had to be spent reading.
And Ms Ng would want to see what we’re reading and would scream at us if we had been ‘reading’ the same thing for more than two weeks. As a result, when I borrowed The Alchemist, I skimmed through it. Enough to give Ms Ng an oral summary should she ask later, enough to write a quick review about, and enough to complete it under two weeks.
The only things I remember from the book was the quote mentioned above, and a shepherd who found treasure in his original place. It is only now that I can link his messages to Sufism (true enough, he did say his books were Sufi-inspired). Back then I linked the quote to another book I had skimmed through: The Secret. Law of Attraction, Visual Boards, etc, of the kind.
And these methods actually worked for most of what I wanted in teenagehood.
It is the idea that there is an invisible power outside of us that acts as a genie in a bottle, or that we are magnets attracting what we want. What I understood as a teenager was that if I wanted something, I just had to think about it enough and it’ll work.
But powers of the Universe did not allow me to achieve my goal in my final exam: straight As.
I worked hard. The papers were easy for me. But I did not get straight As.
In my book I wrote that I did “not do well”. I gave off an impression of failure, but what it actually was was 1A, 6Bs, and 2Cs. I think. For someone whose goal was straight As, getting Bs was obviously a failure. Thankfully before that I had found an insight that helped me understand that things were already meant to be.
If I had thought, through my research of the mind, that it is outside powers that helped me achieve what I wanted, I grew to understand that the intelligence behind life is inside of us, and I call it Inner Wisdom.
Everybody has it. No such thing as I’m wise, you’re not. It is whether you choose to acknowledge that there is something in you that is built-in for success.
I quote David Archuleta, “There are two kinds of success in this world. Success in God’s eyes, and Success in the world’s eyes.”
In other words, you define your own success.
Hypnosis, Emotional Freedom Technique, Heart Math, you name it, I’ve probably read and tried it (but I don’t remember it now), to learn how to manipulate my own thinking, as if who I am right now was not enough, that I needed to be someone else in order to be successful.
I think I’ve found something simpler that requires no “tricks” or “techniques”. Just a constant self-reminder.
To me, whatever I experience comes from INSIDE —-> OUTSIDE.
It is my analogy of a seed, a tiny thing that has the intelligence and wisdom to grow into a tree. I had asked several people, who agreed that we are seeds, how they plan to nourish/water their seeds.
Some kept quiet, some of my students answered “through remembering Allah”, and some answered, “through gaining experiences”.
Remember my Inside —-> Outside strategy? For you, a seed, to grow into a tree, it needs to come from the inside.
I had written about it in my chapter How To Access Inner Wisdom.
Inner Wisdom is your seed.
Have you noticed how you make rash and stupid decisions when your mind is not clear? Or how you’re likely to miss your blind spot when you’re driving with something caught in your mind?
Have you noticed how you can make decisions better after a prayer, or after a holiday, after a “gateaway”? It is because your Inner Wisdom works best when your mind, your self, is quiet, peaceful, still, and calm.
And you don’t have to go on a holiday often to retain or “replenish” that sense of peace.
And it is not outside circumstances that make you feel how you feel. Someone else cannot ruin my day as someone else cannot make me happy. It is because you chose outside experiences to affect you on the inside that you feel that way.
It is not easy, but I believe you can try to make the shift.
How is it that some people constantly complain about bad customer service, when I can confidently say that I don’t experience bad service?
It is because I don’t let outside experiences affect my balance. It happens, but how I feel about it is entirely up to me.
I’m not saying I don’t feel sad or angry, or deny it and try to “fill my thoughts with positive thoughts”. I’m saying that when bad things happen to me, I quickly remind myself that I am in control over how I feel. I will go “Eh, okay, I’m sad, that’s normal, but let’s step back to evaluate it.”
So I observe, and watch, and can see things more clearly. From the inside-outside, things stopped being about me. It’s an eagle-vision I can see or guess why someone is behaving a certain way towards me, even if it doesn’t justify, I will not let outside experiences affect me on the inside.
This is also the basis of empathy.
Whoops. So back to Conspiring With The Universe.
In The Alchemist, the shepherd found treasure in his original place (forgive me if I’m wrong, I need to re-read this book someday).
You are the Treasure. And The Universe is you all along.
When you are quiet, you’ll just know the steps to take next.
If you’re facing some uncertainty or insecurity right now, stop thinking about it. Breathe in, breathe out, allow yourself to be quiet, and your innate wisdom will tell you. You’ll just know.
Then you be aware of yourself for the rest of your life, you are living from the Inside —> Outside.