About Mamoon

“Happiness: When what you think, what you do, and what you are, are in harmony.”

— Mahatma Ghandi

By the time you’re done reading this article, you may know me better than some people who have ‘known’ me for years. I’m writing this to explore the answer to a question that haunts us all sometimes…

“Who Am I?”

An eternity passed before I was born, and an eternity will pass after I die. So, asking ‘who am I?’ always leads me back to embracing the infinite depth of this very moment.

Let’s start with labels. My name is Mamoon Yusaf. I was born in Britain in a Muslim family to parents originally from Pakistan. They moved to England in search of financial stability and a better life. They found both. They also found themselves surrounded by a strange but charming new culture and realised an inherent danger in their decision to live here: their children may lose the values they, as parents, carry in their hearts.

There are two types of people: those who live their entire lives according to the socially conditioned values that their family and society brought them up with; and those who consciously evolve.

But, when you are a second generation immigrant, the values of your family and the values of society can often be diametrically opposed. You need to create your own set of values. It would seem you have no choice but to consciously evolve. There is, however, a third option used by most of my generation: to create your own “mini-society” inside of the dominant one. This mini-society operates based the bizarre mix of contradictory values that you were brought up with. It lets you feel ‘at home’, albeit surrounded by double standards. This works really well if the numbers of immigrants are large enough, and have enough in common.

The option of ‘conscious evolution’ cannot be forced on someone, let alone on an entire community of people. This was a liberal idea that died a painful death long ago in Britain, thanks in part to my generation. Rather it must, as its name suggests, be chosen consciously. And throughout history we find figures who chose, and lived, by values different to those of the dominant society. Values that later ‘caught on’.

How I’m Different

When I meet a friend in a yoga class or dance class in Barcelona (where I currently live), she will often quickly realise she likes me and can trust me and knows that there is something different about me, compared with most the guys she has met. When I meet a friend in a mosque or at a spiritual retreat in England, he will often quickly realise he likes me and can trust me and knows that there is something different about me, compared with most the ‘brothers’ he has met. They are both right, for almost completely opposite reasons.

I am far too liberal to be taken seriously by a religious community bound by the ‘mini-society values’ it created. Yet, I take my spiritual tradition far too seriously to fit in with the liberal values that the dominant society I live in created.

But here’s the thing. In order for me to discover my own values, to realise who I really am; I need both liberalism and the spiritual depth of religion, equally. It is only with complete freedom that I can begin to taste the transformational depth of spiritual discipline. This is the real reason I live in Barcelona – it’s just outside of the reach of the ‘mini-society’ that would attempt to control my actions and unwittingly limit my potential.

This has lead me to some…

Apparent Contradictions

I recently went to a pub and read a book about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). I meet up with friends in bars, and can always be trusted to be the designated driver. I may take a girl out to dinner, but only in the hope that she might just be ‘the one’ for me. I dance Bollywood and teach Quranic Arabic. I respect people who are sexually liberal, and I am not. Most of my friends are not Muslims; and most days I pray 5 times.

The Purpose Of My Life

In the midst of these apparent contradictions lie a consistent set of spiritual values that I live by. They come from the greatest treasure my parents blessed me with: the Quran. They are not Eastern or Western values – they are universal by nature. The way I express these values is determined by something that no amount of religious knowledge can give you: experience. These values have religious connotations, but more importantly, they contain a spiritual depth that has transformed my life many times over.

In the end, instead of asking “who am I?”, perhaps it is more relevant to ask what the world needs from me. I don’t know the ‘right’ answer to this, but I have a few ideas. I guess I’ll start by sharing the transformative power of the spiritual values that I live by, on this website.

Here’s a glimpse into the universal spiritual values that have enhanced my life:

“Al-Haqq”, Truth. God is Truth.

Seek it with all your heart even if it goes against yourself, your family, your society, your religion. The more you do this, the more confident you will be in your faith, and the less you will need to hide behind symbols of religiosity. The biggest illusion is that you are experiencing the world as it is. The deepest truth is that you are experiencing your own self-generated perception of reality – your “nafs-thought”

“Iman”, Belief. Believe in yourself.

If you could think of the most beautiful, profound, heartfelt words of praise to describe yourself, they pale in comparison to the truth of who you really are. Know that most of your beliefs have been socially conditioned into you, and most of your goals are things society tells you you should want. You want things because you think they will make you feel a certain way. If you could see through this mind-made illusion, you would access your highest self, and take action based on inspiration, not desperation.  With you act based on empowering beliefs, you don’t just tap into your God-given potential; you become an expression of the potential of God. Your actions then change the world, exactly how God wants it to be changed.

“Rahmah”, Love. God is Love.

Love for others what you love for yourself. As you love creation, so the Creator loves you. Love yourself, as much as you want the ‘Most Loving’ to love you. When you do, you can go around the world with an open heart and say “I love you” without fear of rejection or ridicule.

“Ihsan”, Spiritual Excellence & Presence.

The most important time is now. The most important action is what you are doing. The most important people are those you are with. By fully realising this, your efforts can never go to waste, and your joy deepens with every moment.

“Taqwa”, Consciousness.

All spiritual traditions are full of exercises that elevate this. Without it, you cannot experience true freedom as you are trapped by your own thoughts. Only by shining the light of your conscious awaresness on your thoughts, can you change yourself. Only by changing yourself, can you change the world.

“Salam”, Peace & Acceptance. God is Peace.

Inner peace lies in accepting Reality. Accept the reality of your entire experience of this moment. Accept your thoughts and your feelings, without trying to change them. Accept how they leave you easily as they came to you. By being in this state of Peace, you bring the Peace of God your heart and into the lives of all those blessed to be in your presence.

“Hikma”, Wisdom.

This can only be attained through a combination of knowledge, intuitive intelligence, and experience. This is the path of the Spiritual Warrior, and it is not free from sin. You fell hundreds of times before you experienced your birthright, the knowledge of walking. So what must happen before you experience your other birthright: the knowledge of God?