For the second year in a row, I’ll begin Ramadan entering into a peak period of my life.  I’m no longer ‘hitting’ my stride, I’m living in it.  Around my birthday, I wrote a post referencing what it meant when you start living on ‘third base’.  Deep fundamental changes start taking place…

We all have certain needs and desires that define us, and I’m as human as anyone else.  At some point between this rapidly approaching Ramadan and the last, my paradigm shift began playing itself out within my prayers.  What’s one thing we all want?  The respect of our peers. I didn’t always feel that I had that, but that has come (in large part) to recognizing what my lane is and who my peers really are.  And as a result, I spend almost no time anymore in pointless confrontations.  In wrestling terms I get to play my natural ‘babyface’ role: being silly, giving of myself and my time without questioning if I’m sacrificing too much of myself in someone else’s agenda at the expense of my own.

What else do we all need?  Love. Something else I can say I always knew enough to recognize it but didn’t always feel I had it (or specifically, enough of it).  Over the course of a lifetime, I’ve almost completed building the private circle I’ve needed that makes it easier for me to share a significant part of ‘Malik Aziz’ with 7 billion people by writing a blog on the internet or standing on a stage or in front of a camera and playing a character.  So that part of my life is almost complete.

I have a roof over my head and I’m not overly concerned about not having one anytime soon.  I pay my bills with enough left to more or less have the social life I want.  Could I use more money?  Come on now. Could YOU use more money?  I thought so…

And so my life as a spiritual being has come to this: ‘What do you do when you’ve ‘won’?  When your basic needs are met…AND your basic desires are met…then what?  It is wrong…specifically, is it greedy of me to ask for these things when I realize what I’m truly asking for is more of the things I’ve already been blessed with?

This was the question I posed first, to my brother who I consider my spiritual mentor.  His response was so ‘right’, so obvious, that it struck me like a thunderbolt.  I was so electrified by it, that I wanted to hear other people’s responses to the question…

And this is when it became an extraordinary experience.  First naturally I went to other Muslims I know.  Their responses echoed the initial response.  Next, I went outside of that group: to my Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Mormon friends.  As you might expect, the phrasing started to change, BUT the ‘answer’ was the same.  Every single time, among these people, most of whom will never meet each other, the response was always the same.

At this point, I was spiritually high, so I figured ‘why not’?  Through whatever channels I had at my disposal, I sent my question to those who I have no personal relationship with, but who I thought would give me an answer to think about.  Popes, Dalai Lamas, ‘gurus’, you name it.  Out of that group of people, only one responded.  And you may or may not be surprised by who took the time to respond, but you shouldn’t be surprised that his advice matched everyone else’s.

Because his response was the most eloquently phrased of the group, I’m reposting it here.  Here was Minister Farrakhan’s response to my question (unedited):

‘Well, you should be grateful that God has supplied your needs, and then ask yourself the question: Why?  

He’s supplying your needs, that you might be His helper in helping to supply the needs of others.’

I really want to stop writing there, but I owe you my full reaction.  As is often the case when I’m hit with the Truth, I’m motivated and inspired.  Ashamed and humbled that I needed to ask for help, while at the same time thankful and blessed that when I do need to be steered in a certain direction, I can let go of my pride and ego and listen to others.

And I feel that I do more than some in trying to help others.  But I can also confess that it’s always been on ‘my’ time.  As I use this next month to focus again on being the best possible version of Malik Aziz I can possibly be, I take on the challenge of doing more to help supply the needs of others.  Not ‘someday’ when I have Denzel’s money, or ‘someday’ after I have a few more residual checks I won’t miss.  Today.  Now.  Every day for however much longer I have inside of this flesh.

Other than the Minister, I know everyone else who I asked for advice checks this space out.  I thank you as always for being a friend and helping me move closer to being the man I aspire to be.

Next week, I’ll talk about Love.