I just had this idea today. I was thinking about my Islam, not just Islam, but ‘my Islam’. And then I thought of toothpaste. You know that feeling when you brush your teeth? And then every time you take a breath it feels super cold? There’s a nice breeze inside… That’s what I feel like with my Islam. I feel that on my whole body, and inside in my heart and even in my mind. I feel this cool breeze. It’s like after you brush your teeth every breath you take, you really fee that breath. You take a breath and it’s alive in your mouth. We’re always breathing, right? We’re all here.. so we’re breathing. But we don’t always realize… I mean we know we’re breathing, but we don’t always feel those breaths. But after you brush your teeth, you feel every breath and that’s how I’d describe my Islam. I say ‘my Islam’ because I’m not talking about the Islam of my parents or the Islam that was given to me, or the ‘jersey’ Islam – you’re this team or that team, but ‘my’ Islam: the Islam that I earned, the Islam that I struggle for. The Islam that… every choice, every second which gives birth to the next second … that moment of Islam, that constant state of becoming. It’s alive. It’s a live thing! When you’re going through this introspection and you’re thinking about the world in this way and you’re re-exploring those questions. That we all had at one point in our lives. “Why are we here?” So simple, right? Go back to the essence of that question: Why are we here? What is my purpose? What is it at the end of the day? Am I just here to make money, pay for my house, my car? And then what? Where is it all going? When you revisit these questions and you’re true to yourself… So tap into that aspect of yourself and then you’ll build a relationship with truth. It’s not just a 2-D relationship with this book, it’s 3-D … you’re experiencing the world. So it resonates. We were created to know God. Each one of us, we have tools within us. The laptop comes with a C.D. thing, can pick up wireless internet … we have everything it takes to pick up these signs, these ayat. Ayat, I love that word. It’s such a bad translation to translate ‘ayat’ into verse because ‘ayat’ means ‘signs’. And what do signs do, they point you in a direction. There are ayat (signs) in the Qur’an but also ayat (signs) that are alive everyday. I mean, the Qur’an was revealed over a period of 23 years… off the tongue of one man for 23 years, 1,400 year ago… but God is Ever-Living, Self-Existing. Even salah, which means ‘the connection’, puts you at the center of that experience. What are the times of salah based on? Today we think, “It’s 12:30, time for the noon prayer.” But salah is based on the moving of the whole cosmic system! That’s what your body is synchronized to, that’s what you are entering into. Everything is in a perfect system, everything is in a state of surrender… a state of harmony and peace. These huge massive bodies that are out there in space, doing their thing. Like the Qur’an says, moving in a calculated orbit … swimming in a calculated orbit. You enter that system when you start praying. You’re in tune with the universe. Usually we get an image of a surfer on a wave, but there’s a whole stage before he gets on to that wave. It’s actually a very specific moment where everything comes together: if everything is timed correctly and the energies are aligned … then from on the crest of the wave, it all clicks and you experience that ride. It’s bliss. I relate that to Islam. Why? Because a surfer who’s doing that, it’s not just by chance … he found himself in the middle of the sea and found this piece of wood. There’s an art, a dance, an intimate relationship with this body of water. And there has to be knowledge. You learn the laws of hydromechanics, the laws of the water. Once you learn them and you submit to them … because what is a surfer doing in that second? When you’re on the crest of a wave and you’re just about to drop in from up there. He’s submitting to the laws of the wave, the hydrodynamics. Once he achieves that submission … boom … he gets that ride. That’s what Islam is, that’s what entering Islam is, it’s experiencing that sweet ride. When we go into salah, first thing you do is to consciously make a direction. Sometimes I stand there and I start turning like this … so I can think about why I am facing this way. Just because there’s an arrow pointing in that direction? That’s shallow! Everytime, renew your intention. That now I’m pointing my heart in a direction, a place that symbolizes the center. This is all before salah. Then you say, “Allahu Akbar”. You just thought about how far the sun is, how big animals are, or I just surfed a wave and it was huge so I’m like “Allahu Akbar!” (God is greater than). And then you enter your salah. It’s such a beautiful dance – there’s an aesthetic beauty to it. Your body can be doing so many movements at once. Think of a gymnastic. But in this moment you are willingly choosing to submit all of your joints and muscles … even your eyes are concentrated on that physical act of submission. Also, your mind: you’re thinking about what you’re saying, “Praise be to God, Lord of the worlds” … what does that mean? What is my relationship to that? So your mind is submitting. Sometimes you’re physically sitting in class, but your mind is somewhere else. So here with salah you want to try to get your body and your mind in that state of Islam, and then to feel what you’re saying. “Al-Rahman Al Raheem” (the Infinitely Compassionate, the Most Merciful). What does that mean? Think about your mom. Think about the compassion you feel towards your mom … the feeling of compassion she has towards you. And then think “the All Merciful, the All Compasionate”. When these three aspects of the human are in complete submission, it’s beautiful, you enter that system. That’s when you drop in on that wave and you enjoy that ride, that sweet ride of iman (faith/inner security).