Images by Hawkinson Photography

The meaning of “Islam” is “submission to God“, and this Name is the focus of that submission, Subduer.  This Name reminds us that God has the inarguable capacity to force submission, but when we combine this with Names like Forebearing and Forgiving that capacity is redirected a bit – God would rather us submit willingly.

Submission to Divine Will does not mean deciding to be a passive victim – bad things happen to everyone (The rain falls on the just and unjust alike) regardless of whether they have faith.  The difference is found in how a person reacts to what happens.  Do we rail against God and blame the universe?  Or do we look for the things we can be thankful for, grow from, or change?  Submitting to Divine Will, asking for direction, and determining to follow the Spirit remove us from the role of being the hapless victim and we become participants in our own active spiritual growth – engineers and alchemists of our own souls.  People always recover from trauma faster when they refuse to dwell on and relive it constantly; when we actively use our experiences as focal points to learn and look for the good, the burdens of pain and bitterness are much easier to bear.

When working on this I was thinking of a phrase I heard in the Bible belt of Alabama while I lived there, I have no idea who first uttered it.  “Man seldom stands taller than when he is on his knees in prayer.”  This kind of humble prayer is a symbol of the state of mind an actively submissive worshiper has – looking for opportunities to learn and grow, and participate in the molding necessary to become the being God intended.  The back wall is an image of the City of Heaven, not as the focus for prayers, but as a window of the future for the actively submissive worshiper; the path to ultimate Paradise, the highest order of existence, is found only through the humility of prayer.

Horrible things happen to everyone, good things, too – it is up to the spirit alchemist to use those experiences to grow and become the creature he or she was created to be.

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