Sometimes the ailments of our souls come back to the simplest of things: organization and discipline.

By Nabi Raza Abidi

The sense of purposelessness and lack of meaningful goals in life is a feeling that grows worse as people age, at least that is the case for many. It is an impending sense of nihilism that brings about a lack of passion and liveliness in life. This not only applies to people’s careers but also their religious and family lives.

There is no single answer to this problem as a complex set of conditions usually opens the doors to this difficult state. Yet I think that a good place to start is knowing that clarity in life is usually the result of stillness of mind whereas confusion and lack of orientation comes from chaos and “clutter in the mind”.

It is amazing how cleaning one’s room, office, car, organizing files on a laptop, creating a schedule and praying on time brings about an order in life that is essential for mental clarity. Perhaps if we fulfilled these little simple bits of forgotten tasks, our souls could finally find some order. As the American moral theorist Russell Kirk once said, “order is the first need of the soul.”

An organized soul takes our hearts and minds out of chaos and contributes to bringing them back to stillness. When this happens, what then would happen to our previous sense of purposelessness? It seems to me that the meaning of being can be rekindled in the soul, and a new will to live can be reborn. How much better would worship be in this condition?

I know this post was a bit of a mouthful, but here is the gist of what was said: your mental clutter can often be the result of the physical and spatial clutter in your life. Reorganizing your work and life space will help bring clarity to your mind thereby giving you a better perspective on your goals and the overall meaning of your life. This will also lay the foundation for a healthier religious and spiritual life.

Waʿlaikum as-Salam,
Yours Faithfully
Nabi Raza Abidi
Resident Imam of the SABA Islamic Center
San Jose, California