that which we search for is within us

There is a beautiful Native American legend that speaks of a secret that the Creator hides:

He gathers all the creatures of the world and asks:
“I have a great and mighty secret.
Where should I hide it from the humans so that
they may only find it when they are ready?”

The eagle says, “I’ll take it to the moon and hide it there.”

“No,” says the Creator, “One day they will travel to the moon and find it.”

“Then I’ll hide it in the bottom of the ocean,” offers the salmon.

“No,” says the Creator, “One day they will get there and surely find it.”

“I know, I know,” cries the buffalo, “I will hide it in the Great Plains!”

“Oh, but, they will dig it out one day, too,” the Creator says.

The mole then says, “Hide it inside them.

The Creator says, “It is done, for they shall look there last.”


This legend speaks to me on so many levels. It speaks of direct conversation between the Creator and ambassadors of the animal kingdom, courageous enough to address their Creator, even to suggest ideas to Him! The Creator in this legend is a creator who has created beings that have intellect enough to converse with Him. The essence of truth about the secret of the human soul is in this legend. If only we would look inside. “We blew into them from Our spirit.” We contain all of the answers if only we would look deeply enough. The universe was created, our vast intricate universe, just to house the part of us that is connected to the greater greatness, God. So often I look for answers outside of myself and the answer comes like a cooling breeze in the midst of a calm moment. It only took a minute’s reflection to find enough quietude to hear it. This legend leads me to think about two things specifically, brokenness and prayer.

We are broken. Separated from source. When we submit to this truth, we find the connection inside of us. It is our center. It is our balance. In moments of quiet, it can be heard, felt, tasted, understood.

Last night my beloved teacher was speaking of the state of the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be prayers and peace. “He was smiley. He was not laugh-y.” Even in his smile there was a layer of brokenness beneath it, always in remembrance of distance and separation from the Beloved. How is it when lovers are separated? How deeply his love must have burned inside? He wasn’t the prophet known as the friend of God, or the Conversationalist with God, or the King prophet. Muhammad was the beloved servant of God. His solemn brokenness, his tender heart for lovers, and his serenity were direct results of this vertical love affair. He was fully engaged in people and society, but contemplative and far away inwardly. Always with the Beloved.

We are a strange people, the ummah of Muhammad. We are strangers in this world. We see the illusion. It does not sweep us away. Our sights are set beyond this place. We are strange. Our friends speak to us and aren’t slighted by our inner engagement elsewhere. They know where our focus rests. I felt so strange as a child, being present in the world around me, knowing I was absorbed in my own thought. Feeling always like an outsider because my inside conversation was too loud, and too great to let my outsides be occupied elsewhere. Islam came as something strange. Standing in front of Arabs, giving them your back and pushing the world behind you, entering into prayer, calling upon them to join in with you. It is a miracle anyone at all followed this strange behavior. It is a strange sight to see people praying. How odd it must look. The washing and whispering, the bowing and bending, the prostrating. All of it. strange.

And it comes to me now why this is so strange. It is not something for the mind or the eye. It is not something to be intellectualized or understood. It is alltogether for another realm. It came from the heavens during the ascension of Muhammad to heaven. He had to ascend to heaven to be allowed to be bestowed with this strange thing. It is from another world and so why would my eyes, being that they are from this world, see this strange thing as other than other worldly. That is all it is. Not of this world, and so it is strange to beings of this world. But the sakeena comes down sometimes and the part of us directly connected to the Creator feels it. We know in those moments when the flood of sakeena’s serenity comes down upon that this is sweetness manifest. That everything exists inside the reality of prayer. It is not for the body or of the body. It is for the soul. It is nourishment for the part of you that contains the entire universe and all its secrets and all its answers.

Ramadan is coming to an end. I will miss it dearly until next year. I pray I am allowed another year to witness another Ramadan. I wish all of you a beautiful Eid. May it be full of happiness and easy comfort. Pray for our brothers and sisters who will not have pleasant Eids. Pray for those who are fighting evil shayateen in the form of men. Pray for Somalia and its people. Pray for rain where there is none and shelter for those who have none. Pray for goodness and contentedness. Pray to be forgiven and pray for heaven.


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