The side effects of joy: Holy smoke!

Holy Smoke, Ibn ArabiIt hit me like a train crash; Joy. I opened my email yesterday morning to find great news that I have been waiting for, for a few months, a lot of hours, many self-inflicted comas. When you wait for something to happen, secretly praying to Allah that it happens, getting ready for it not to happen, going through all the stages of patience, faith, surrender, acceptance, bracing yourself for whatever God has in store for you – and then it happens… you crash under the pressure. You simply crash, especially that out of all the tens of tens of attempts your ego tried to make it happen, the only move you make with no strings attached, no hope, no expectations, not even the slightest light shining through from the tunnel of life – works out, and works out greatly!

Joy is a sensation that starts somewhere in the mind or soul, I don’t know where. Your cells open up and start breathing after a long period of waiting, they want to celebrate, they want to lose control, they might even want to sin and become as carnal as they could muster. They have been dormant for so long under the spell of patience, it hurts when there comes sudden joy. It hurts when a 3 meter-wide gate opens instead of a small window, it’s mind blowing to see sudden rain after long periods of drought. Ya Allah, ya Allah, why do we suffer in loss and gain, sorrow and joy, why don’t we just flow?

It starts with feeling totally blown away, then you thank Allah a hundred times or more, you get swept away with feelings of every sort… those are powerful emotions that overtake your system… and then you crave for a cigarette, for in deed, old habits die hard.

You smoke that lonely cigy, you get dizzy with euphoria, you are silent, as ever silent, for you have learnt to go about life silently. You don’t know how to celebrate joy, you have forgotten what it’s like to jump up and down, because you have lived through thick and thin and know that joy is the sister of sorrow, and both should stay locked inside the heart. You know exhibitionism is against your spiritual beliefs… so instead of telling the whole world: I got it… you smoke a cigy. And when you do, they kick back in, your addictions to life find the perfect opening in the door, that little crack in the shell, and they hurry back in before you compose yourself and treat that moment of joy like any other moment of daily, mundane living.

After almost two years of quitting the fag, you can be defeated by a sweeping moment of joy, and become a smoker again.

It’s funny how the second day (today), you wake up shaking with your desire for another cigarette. You smoke but still you are shaky, the whole world means nothing when the body craves for a puff. You come back from your little smoking trip only to find you have two thoughts in your head; am I smoking because of joy? Or am I just crashing under the pressure of too many good things happening at the same time in such miraculous timing and power?

God bless you Syria. This only happens here! Oh, and this happens when Syria decides to become smoke free in public places in 2009… hmmm.

Note: After writing the smoking series posts in this blog, I quit smoking following orders by my Sheikh. He said cigarettes are the making of Satan, a habit that encourages misguided thoughts, behaviors and ultimately pollutes the body and the heart. In the Naqshbandi Path, smoking is prohibited to followers and believers.


About 50% Syrian

What is identity? I was raised Arab (of varying origins), with a Syrian mother, and Moroccan, Lebanese and Tunisian great grandfathers and grandmothers. I always felt 50% Syrian, and this percentage mattered to me more than anything else. Love of my life, my late Sufi grandmother, is Syrian... all her bedtime stories were about her life in Damascus. Damascus is where the heart dwells.
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4 Responses to The side effects of joy: Holy smoke!

  1. saint says:

    Beautifully written, those contradicting feelings we get when we flooded with too many good things happening in short period make us worry and anticipating the balance of something bad might or should happen. Although I’m not spiritual by nature, I still can taste spirituality and feel for the people living their souls need.
    Stopped on one thing, what is the cigy? Couldn’t figure out.
    I do not think the good news you are talking about is the prohibiting of public smoking that could be good news for people with asthma, who would be relieved a little in some public places.
    Finally cheers)

  2. Yaak says:

    Imho, this is the best piece of writing I’ve read so far on your blog! Joy is miraculous.
    What a coincidence! Just about the time you received your joy trigger, I too received great news that I’ve been waiting for for such a long time.
    May all be happy and live in peace!

  3. Dania says:

    This is exactly why I dont let joy inside my life ;)….

    Beautiful… they way you described it was just brilliant, especially when you mentioned the anticipation for the sorrow. It is wild spread anticipation when experiencing happy moment in our country. My poor people can’t enjoy the joy.

    cheers, and write more frequently 🙂

  4. 50% Syrian says:

    Thanks Saint 🙂 the cigy is the cigarette’s nickname.

    Shokran Yaak :)) Hopefully 2009 will be a year of good new after the other (in my case, I fear smoking cigarettes will snowball into hubbly bubbly, and then chewing Qaat, etc).

    Yislamoo Dania 🙂 Still on the lookout for the mythical nosedive everyone anticipates after great joy. Allah Yistor.

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