I am moving onward and going upward. Edmonton has proven disappointing so I am moving onward and going upward. Certainly not permanently, I intend to live out my natural born days making this place my home but I do need a change of scene. Most would consider my temporary absence from this city, at this time of year, foolhardy. It is, after all, summer. A retired individual lives in cold Canada in the summer, exiting to warmer climes in the winter. I am reversing the process, for many reasons which shall be explained in subsequent blogs.
First let us explore a few concepts. Initially decided to research living out one’s natural days. Upon doing so, totally accidentally came across a Wikipedia presentation of the Meaning of Life. It is fascinating, thought provoking. Therefore you shall get to read it, if you choose to (of course)
The meaning of life, or the answer to the question: “What is the meaning of life?”, pertains to the significance of living or existence in general. Many other related questions include: “Why are we here?”, “What is life all about?”, or “What is the purpose of existence?” There have been many proposed answers to these questions from many different cultural and ideological backgrounds. The search for life’s meaning has produced much philosophical, scientific, theological, and metaphysical speculation throughout history. Different people and cultures believe different things for the answer to this question.
The meaning of life can be derived from philosophical and religious contemplation of, and scientific inquiries about existence, social ties, consciousness, and happiness. Many other issues are also involved, such as symbolic meaning, ontology, value, purpose, ethics, good and evil, free will, the existence of one or multiple gods, conceptions of God, the soul, and the afterlife. Scientific contributions focus primarily on describing related empirical facts about the universe, exploring the context and parameters concerning the “how” of life. Science also studies and can provide recommendations for the pursuit of well-being and a related conception of morality. An alternative, humanistic approach poses the question, “What is the meaning of my life?”
What followed was a discussion of the origins of the expression.
Our Life is compassed round with Necessity; yet is the meaning of Life itself no other than Freedom, than Voluntary Force: thus have we a warfare; in the beginning, especially, a hard-fought battle.
Wikipedia goes on to tell us that this question is phrased in different terms, in different ways.
- What is the meaning of life? What’s it all about? Who are we?
- Why are we here? What are we here for?
- What is the origin of life?
- What is the nature of life? What is the nature of reality?
- What is the purpose of life? What is the purpose of one’s life?
- What is the significance of life? (See also #Psychological significance and value in life)
- What is meaningful and valuable in life?
- What is the value of life?
- What is the reason to live? What are we living for?
You absolutely MUST read the entire entry – it explores all the differing theories throughout the ages. This answer to the fundamental question of the meaning of life is now the entirely meaningful to me.
In Islam, humanity’s ultimate purpose is to worship their creator, Allah (English: The God), through his signs, and be grateful to him through sincere love and devotion. This is practically shown by following the divine guidelines revealed in the Qur’an and the tradition of the Prophet (with the exception of Quranists). Earthly life is a test, determining one’s position of closeness to Allah in the hereafter. A person will either be close to him and his love in Jannah (Paradise) or far away in Jahannam (Hell).
For Allah’s satisfaction, via the Qur’an, all Muslims must believe in God, his revelations, his angels, his messengers, and in the “Day of Judgment“. The Qur’an describes the purpose of creation as follows: “Blessed be he in whose hand is the kingdom, he is powerful over all things, who created death and life that he might examine which of you is best in deeds, and he is the almighty, the forgiving.” (Qur’an 67:1–2) and “And I (Allâh) created not the jinn and mankind except that they should be obedient (to Allah).” (Qur’an 51:56). Obedience testifies to the oneness of God in his lordship, his names, and his attributes. Terrenal life is a test; how one acts (behaves) determines whether one’s soul goes to Jannat (Heaven) or to Jahannam (Hell). However, on the day of Judgement the final decision is of Allah alone.
The Five Pillars of Islam are duties incumbent to every Muslim; they are: Shahadah (profession of faith); Salat (ritual prayer); Zakat (charity); Sawm (fasting during Ramadan), and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). They derive from the Hadith works, notably of Sahih Al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim. The five pillars are not mentioned directly in the Quran.
Beliefs differ among the Kalam. The Sunni and the Ahmadiyya concept of pre-destination is divine decree; the Shi’a concept of pre-destination is divine justice; in the esoteric view of the Sufis, the universe exists only for God’s pleasure; Creation is a grand game, wherein Allah is the greatest prize.
The Sufi view of the meaning of life stems from the hadith qudsi that states “I (God) was a Hidden Treasure and loved to be known. Therefore I created the Creation that I might be known.” One possible interpretation of this view is that the meaning of life for an individual is to know the nature of God, and the purpose of all of creation is to reveal that nature and to prove its value as the ultimate treasure, that is God. However, this hadith is stated in various forms and interpreted in various ways by people, such, as ‘Abdu’l-Bahá of the Baháʼí Faith, and in Ibn’Arabī‘s Fuṣūṣ al-Ḥikam.
Back to the topic mentioned in the title.
You: Why onward and upward? Where are you going?
Me: I am going back to Saudi Arabia at the end of June.
You: Oh my goodness!! How??
Me: By plane of course. I am not about to walk with my bad knee. Hahaha
You: Did you make the arrangements?
Me: Well yes I did!!! But I did something different this time. I hired a travel agent.
You: Is that working for you? Have you ever done that before?
Me: No I have not. Always made the travel plans myself – the air reservations, the hotels etc etc etc. Well when I went to Saudi Arabia the first time in December I trusted eJouney to make the arrangements and it was a complete and total disaster. It was a nightmare!! I think they purposefully tried to exploit me – use my presence on Instagram to promote their business. Well, it did not work. But at least they put me in good hotels and hired good guides in Mecca and one guy in Medina. By the time I got to Riyadh I refused to have anything to do with them. A woman doctor met in my hotel in Mecca took me to an incredible UNESCO sight and the Riyadh Hilton took fabulous care of me. Had a great massage from a wonderful woman. Got pushed in a wheelchair to the nearby shopping center by a muscular man that was in boss of the concierges. Maybe I will include.a picture of his muscles. His friend emailed a picture to me. PHEW! Never have I seen such pecs. Could not see them at the time because he was wearing a hotel uniform that covered them up. I was surprised!!!
You: So you will see him again.
Me: I do not thinks so. I heard he went back to Bangladesh which is where he came from. But that’s okay with me. My new physiotherapist is fantastic and my knee – with his exercises and my diligence is making it possible for me to get around much better. The massage at the Hilton will help and there is a woman’s pool so I can do water exercises. Everything is working out perfectly.
Everything came together magically. I went to the Internet, found a company called Travel Guru that is actually only a few blocks from my apartment. Called to make an appointment and met with a wonderful woman by the name of Lauren. She is absolutely fantastic!!! I have reservations, leaving Edmonton on Air Canada with a stop over in San Francisco. There I will board a Qatar Airways jet, business class of course. I fly to Riyadh with a short stop over in Doha. It could not be better. It is not cheap but not all that expensive either. I saved something like five hundred dollars by returning the first week in August. I called the Hilton Honors program, got the most helpful man (actually in Capetown, South Africa).
He: So what room would you like?
Me: The cheapest of course!
He: You are so funny! You made my day.
Me: You made mine with your efficient service.
More plans will be made for the rest of my stay. I return to Doha from Riyadh – an overnight in the Doha airport but with business class you get a bed, a room, with a shower. It is absolutely fantastic! Then I stop in Montreal, not the dreaded Toronto Pearson Airport. From Montreal, an Air Canada jet back to Edmonton. I have already secured the services of my favorite chauffeur (CCC) to take me to the airport and pick me up upon my return. It is fantastic, everything is totally coming together perfectly. I could not be happier.
The guy that replaced the muscular one did text me.
He: We will be here to serve you 24/7
Me: Really??? What sort of services will you provide. Hahaha
So two cartoons to cheer you. It took even me awhile to get it but it is funny. Also the picture of the guy with muscles. You might just drool. Hahaha
You shall hear more of the plans when as they evolve. It is going to be the trip of a lifetime. It is for spiritual renewal but there will be the friends I met while there. A big surprise too, So as they say, stay tuned.