Saturday, January 17, 2015

Comfort Zones

Wahai orang-orang yang beriman! Mengapa bila dikatakan kepada kamu ‘berangkatlah (untuk berperang) di jalan Allah,’ kamu berasa berat dan ingin tinggal di tempatmu? Apakah kamu lebih menyenangi kehidupan di dunia daripada kehidupan di akhirat? Padahal kenikmatan hidup di dunia ini (dibandingkan dengan kehidupan) di akhirat hanyalah sedikit.” 
— Surah at-Taubah [9:38]

I came across the above verse just now, and besides the quite literal meaning of urging the believer to go to war for the sake of Allah, it also made me think about comfort zones.

A comfort zone is basically that place or situation in your life that feels the most like pillows and blankets on a rainy day. You just want to stay there forever and ever because you don’t really have to do anything to feel awesome. No pressure, no stress, just remaining in one spot and being comfortably comfortable there.

It may come in the form of a job. You’ve reached a certain point in your career where you’re on cruise mode. You just go to work, do what you’re already adept at doing, come back and repeat the whole thing again tomorrow.

It could come in the form of personal relationships. You’ve got your group of friends that you’ve basically known for years and years and that hasn’t changed much. You know them and they know you, and you’re don’t really like the idea of talking to anyone else outside of your established circle, since that would entail shaking things up too much and you might risk the established order of things you’ve made for yourself within your own life.

It could also come in the form of your spirituality. You decide that what you’re doing right now is pretty a-ok, you pray five times a day, what you miss you ganti balik, you go for Friday prayers, you derma to people in need whenever anything bad happens. You’re doing great.

But the ayat up above sort of questions our attitude towards our comfort zones. It begs the question “are you alright with all of this, when something (way) better is out there for you, if only you would get off your ass?” To me, it forces us to shift our views of our comfort zones and is asking us to adopt a healthy aversion towards it.

Being in a comfort zone is, of course, comfortable. One doesn’t really have to exert much force to get things done and keep the wheels of life turning. But we have to ask ourselves, what good is being in this zone for us? Are we growing, in our professional, personal and spiritual lives by being in our comfort zones? How are we helping ourselves?

Don’t get me wrong here, bukan aku nak mintak kita jadi manusia tak bersyukur. Being able to have a comfort zone should be reason to be hugely thankful. Some people can’t afford to live as comfortably as we do.

But knowing that, are we just going to sit there and say ‘alhamdulillah’ that we’re not in war-ridden Palestine and go about our daily lives? Are we just going to look at a homeless person and say ‘at least aku ada rumah nak tidur malam ni,’ and be happy that you reminded yourself of a blessing that was given to you?

Our are you going to do something about it? Something that won’t necessarily make you feel comfortable, that will have you sacrifice some of that comfort in order to do your part to restore some semblance of order in the bigger scheme of things?

I don’t know man. Every time I find myself in a comfort zone, strangely enough, I find myself being uncomfortable with it. It’s like, there are so many things to do out there, and I’m just chillin’ over here doing pretty much nothing? I feel like I’m squandering the life that’s been given to me, the opportunities that have been dikurniakan to me. It’s like I’m saying ‘no’ to life. 

And on the End Of Days, I’ll be questioned about how I spent the days in my life. What am I going to say? ‘Oh, I had all this time and I spent it binge-watching Suits from the very first season to the latest episodes’? As scary a thought that might be, I still find myself doing it. And it’s unhealthy, to say the least.

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