Remona Aly
Saturday 25 August 2018 Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2

Life in the Fast Lane..?

Speed awareness woes and wisdoms
Pause for Thought, BBC Radio 2, Chris Evans Breakfast Show


I recently found myself in a room filled with criminals. Knuckles were cracking, jaws were grinding, and for the first few minutes our eyes shifted left to right as we sized each other up. We were all as guilty as heck, and our sentence – was a speed awareness course. Here we were, our band of unmerry men and women, the outlaws being punished by two guys in checkered shirts, with a Powerpoint, telling us not to drive fast – for 4 hours.

But the thing is, I deserved to be in that room. It was my fault as I just wasn’t paying enough attention to my speedometer, or more importantly to myself.

That speed awareness course, tedious as it might have been, was my wake-up call, and a wake-up call is something I generally and desperately need in the road map of my life. I don’t want to zoom past the best part of it. In neglecting who I am, and what I’m doing, I’ll never really know where I’m going.

As a Muslim, I’m meant to pause, reflect, and basically do an appraisal of my soul now and again. I know I need to do this more often, so I can develop a deeper consciousness of myself, my surroundings and ultimately my Creator.

Are you ready with your Sufi bingo card, Dermot….

The Sufi Muslim poet, Binawa Badakhshani, pondered about how transformative being more aware could be. The poet mused: “When I became water, I looked like a mirage. When I became the sea, I looked like froth and foam. When I became aware, the entire world seemed forgetful. When I became awake, I saw I’d been asleep.”

In other words – I’ve got to stop sleepwalking through life, because waking up to who I am can make me the sea instead of the froth, the water instead of a mirage, and give me a life fully lived instead of only half scraped through.

So instead of racing at full throttle, I’ll take myself on a measured journey, a course of self-awareness. As the Islamic saying goes, ‘Be in this world as a traveller’ – but just preferably not one that breaks the speed limit.