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...she was there, present, at the center of the Universe. There she remained, the final vestiges of the threads of that cloying web burned away.

NafisaHaji Moments to Spare immediate was that deep, rhythmic thud of her heart, drawing in all her attention. The more she concentrated, the wider the range of senses were engaged. She could feel the beat of it, and smell it—the sweetness of its sound, now becoming both a scent and a taste. Finally, she could see the organ, the muscle itself, pumping, the hub of the journey that the life-giving serum of her blood came home to, distributing life itself to her limbs, to her other organs, to her brain, to every cell in her being. Life itself. Within it, this source of her life, her heart, a light shined, the spark that kept the whole majestic rhythm going. She was drawn to the light. Not some near-death illusion of light at the end of a tunnel, with her own consciousness hovering over her, observing her outward physical self from above. She was inside, totally consumed by the beauty of this one, simple, flashing beat. Once inside, the light exploded, like the Big Bang, and she was there, present, at the center of the Universe. There she remained, the final vestiges of the threads of that cloying web burned away. What she experienced was, literally, beyond words. Feather lightness.

Clarity. Tranquility. Release. Bliss. And then, the Bang contracted. She slipped out of the light, though the awareness of it stayed with her, changing her perspective, though how she knew this was a mystery, since she could not recall what it had been before. She was no longer at the center. Her eyes opened. She could see things outside of her now. She knew well that she was waking up, in the conventional sense, but felt that she was falling back into sleep, into the embrace, she feared, of the nightmare she had been released from. She was groggy, adrift, and disconnected to what was going on around her, static and stuck in a state of limbo for a while, afraid to focus because doing so might mean further loss. Until her eyes locked with Andy’s. Seeing him, she had felt waves of relief wash over her, further intensified when he had taken her hand in his. He wasn’t familiar. Nothing and no one was. But he was there. Solid. And filled with presence. Seeing him, she knew that whatever her nightmare had been, before being wrapped in the light, it had nothing to do with what was here and what was now, the only things that were real and true.


When she had sung the last words of the song, the final segment of soothing saxophone playing her out in her head, Shahina took a moment to put words to what she hadn’t shared with Dr. Brown, beginning with the first sensations that she clearly recalled. The sound of her own heartbeat, loud and clear. It had been an awakening sound, the rhythm of it steady and loud, waking her fully, where she had been asleep before, in the grip of a very bad nightmare, the details of which were scattered. For a moment, she had tried to gather those wayward details back, but they were elusive—like the threads of a spider’s web, sticky to touch, their collective pattern left in disarray, a web that no longer served its purpose, which was to hold and bind her in place, the prey to a foe she no longer recognized. These words that came to mind to describe how she’d felt were more than metaphor. For a moment, she had let herself remember the feeling of constriction, of being trapped in the threads of that web and tried to recall what it was she was afraid of. But the fear, with the nightmare, was gone. The only thing that was

Sufism: An Inquiry Vol XVI, No. 3


Sufism: an inquiry - Vol16.3  

A journal for people of the heart.

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