“who wants to live forever? who wants eternity?” they say. “life has its miseries, even if minor ones, and to be eternally afflicted by them would be no fun at all. and even the good things in life seem to not be so good as to be desired eternally. wouldn’t one get bored? whats the big deal with eternity! i dont really want it!.”and so on…

this notion of something “never-ending”, like all else, has two faces. one looks at it either without the help of revelation or one looks at it with the help of revelation. after one has looked at it in those two ways, one is free to decide which one one wants to embrace for oneself. for a human being, “never-endingness” is either a sign to be read in God’s name or it is not a sign of God. When it is not a sign, it is something i never experience – there is nothing in my experience in this world that is never-ending (except perhaps misery, which seems to never end for creatures like me). There is much to be said about “never-endingness” when it is NOT a sign of God. i leave it for others to say.

What can i say about it IF i read it as a sign? what does it indicate about my reality here and now and, therefore, about the maker of this reality?

I, as a human being, find myself detesting and protesting the end of what i find beautiful, valuable and pleasurable. the loss or decline in pleasure is painful for me. I assume/imagine that my conversation with my friend on the phone just an hour ago was not (and should not have been) the last time I speak to them. If it turns out that it was the last and my friend suddenly died, i feel disappointed. Why? perhaps i expected it to happen again…and again…and again. If someone asked me: can you specify which conversation (the 10th? 100th?) should be the absolute last one you should have with a friend or beloved person and then you would be perfectly ok never to speak to them again, i wouldn’t be happy specifying any number. If someone asked me, which delicious meal should be the last you should eat, beyond which you are OK never eating again? Which glass of water should be the last to quench your thirst beyond which you are OK never to drink again? Which sleep should be the last to give you rest beyond which you are OK never to have a restful sleep again? what beautiful sight should be the last one that you see beyond which you are OK never to see again? which instance of justice and kindness and generosity should be the last one that you see beyond which you are OK if there weren’t any more instances of kindness and justice and generosity ever to exist? When i reflect on these and other such questions, I realize that my soul witnesses and indicates that it wants what is beautiful and perfect to NEVER end. It does not accept a limit to perfection even as it cannot fathom the nature or essence of never-endingness. it cannot, in a single moment, experience never-endingness as a whole so that it could judge whether it is something it wants or not. but to every instance of “endingness”, the end or passing away of what it beautiful and perfect, it says NO! I dont like this! This negation is the affirmation that whoever has made me, whoever owns my soul is One who is perfect, has no end and who wants there to be no end to what is beautiful and perfect. Boredom with beauty is an imperfection. The soul wants no loss of pleasure, ever! the soul indicates and says, should i to read it as a way of knowing who its Lord and maker is (this is what it means to read the soul in God’s name): my Lord is One who wants for me pleasures that are perfect (with no possibility of even the slightest imperfection of any kind, including the imperfection that something pleasurable ceases to be pleasurable over time) and therefore without end! The soul’s disappointment with the lack of such perfection is a sign that its Lord has taught it perfection and the love of perfection. Since the soul knows such endless perfection, it finds its highest joy in remembering the One with whom lies such endless perfection. everything in this world (the misery, the lack etc) that allows the soul to say ‘NO!’ it becomes the means, a messenger, following which I can find a way to that which the soul says ‘Yes’! to. if there wasn’t something i could say NO to, i could never realize or find what it is that I (my soul) says YES! to.

people imagine eternity as a continuation of a part-enjoyable, part-miserable existence that they experience (and interpret) without revelation’s help and of course, their soul rejects such an eternity as something that they should desire…for some it would be positively torturous! eternity is not something “extra” that one is to want, apart from what one already is what one already wants as indicated by all that one wants already AND all that one does not already want…

Published by Faraz Sheikh

Faraz Sheikh

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