Channel: Tarek Kareem Harris
TAYYIB Book, Forward by Mufti Menk
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Chapter 22, that you and well being,
well being is more than just the absence of illness. well being is a state, being positively connected to the ingredients of a fulfilled life.
The picture comes to mind, five different characteristics or components of well being.
Firstly, a higher purpose, a life with meaning. Second, mastery, knowing the skill or trade, or doing something which sets you apart. Thirdly, autonomy, freedom and freewill, fourth, relatedness, belonging and being connected to others. And last of all, but not least, moments of joy, peppering your days. So these five broad factors make up well being.
We talk about them in more detail in other books like instant actions especially, but here will describe how well being is connected to the tube life.
higher purpose is particularly important. Well being comes from having a life of purpose. A Muslim has less difficulty than others in that department. Because we are after all, here by allows will and our purpose is to be of good character, and to show commitment to what Allah has instructed us to do.
Alongside this, there is the real meaning of being a Muslim, someone who has found peace in submitting to Allah will. We are commanded to regard ourselves as a product of allows will, and to thankfully accept all of our gifts, our flaws and limitations. Our value lies within this, not within our appearance or other superficial things. We should make effort to look after our bodies, but not for the sake of feeling worthy, we're already worthy. We look after our bodies because we are looking after what Allah has lent to us. And as a result, we experienced better well being and we live longer with Allah permission.
This is true meaning and this is reflecting good character.
Secondly, mastery. mastery is also known as competence, skills and knowledge are required to achieve most worthy things. So mastery is a process where we work on becoming more skilled or capable at any given activity or task. Whether it be understanding ourselves or or learning a new skill or profession, or looking after our health. For example, reading this book is in effect, gaining mastery over the important issue of eating properly, and controlling weight. Simply learning the knowledge feels good, and contributes to our overall well being. Our sense of being at ease with and understanding the world. In an indirect way, becoming healthier even has an enabling effect on other
parts of life. If you have a healthier weight, you're physically more capable to do things which you could not do as well before. You could play sports better, be fitter to make trips or journeys, or put your shopping mind to use by learning other things.
Despite the stereotypes of thinkers or intellectuals being unhealthy. It's actually true that people who succeed for longer in intellectual fields generally have better health and well being to thank for their enduring success. Too many intellectuals on the other hand, fall prey for physical health by neglecting it in favor of doing their job, or just pursuing their intellectual interest.
The brain and the body are connected, both need looking after.
third component is relatedness. Islam is nothing if not practical and grounded. Allah is fully aware that most people's thinking is dramatically influenced by their knifes people cannot help but judge themselves and others by appearance, loyalty, status, first impressions and so on.
Being healthier, looking healthier, all make a better impression on others. This is not an ideal world, but it is a reality. People with better appearance in terms of their weight and self care, have better chances of getting jobs being promoted, having better social encounters, and earning more money. This is a sad but real fact. And it's reflected in the advice we're given to look after our health.
The external world remains a judgmental place, unfortunately, so. So we might as well play to win by doing whatever we can to get that foothold upwards. If that's what
a lot doesn't judge us on these things, but the material world does. And there is an indirect connection between this reality and our only man.
If you have more money or a nicer job, or have a wider circle of help or influential people, you could use that status to make that work in your favor by making time. And when you make more time, you might able to focus on matters of Deen, rather than worrying about income and so on.
relating to the self is also part of relatedness. In relating to yourself, I would of course advise you to not regard your weight or appearance as determining your value. But this is however difficult to do. And moreover, is not quite what I'm suggesting. We can't ignore the nuts all together. It's like an alarm system that gets louder, the more you ignore it. Much of our well being comes from working alongside the desires of enough in a measured and sympathetic way, coax it along, and we give it a little bit of what makes it happy. So if you feel unhappy because of your weight, don't ignore the feeling, even if it is a little irrational. Accept the feeling as a part of yourself, as
you should do with every feeling. This is the nature of emotions. accepting them, doesn't mean you agree with them. But it does mean you stop trying to fight them or ignore them. You try to listen to the sensible message hidden sometimes within the extreme rational message. And that sensible message might just be well look after your health, get into good shape if you can.
You can hear that in your heart, or in your intellect. And when you do so, you've helped you enough to feel listened to, it gets calmer as a result. And then you can direct yourself towards planned efforts to look after your help. That is exactly such a way it coordinates all the parts of you towards a virtuous and good end. autonomy. The fourth part of our well being diagram is about exercising our free will, and having a sense of being in command to do as we wish and to be accountable and responsible for our actions in life. This might seem slightly scary, but in reality, it adds to our strength. True well being improved. When we take responsibility for our thoughts and
actions, embracing our errors and successes all alike. It's a very empowering feeling, we become more realistic, and more grounded, and our real freedom actually increases because we are more connected to the effects we are having on the world.
Here's one small example. If we're out shopping for food, and passed by some rows of sugary snacks, we may feel tempted to pick them up, we get home and eat them and then feel bad for having strayed from our rules. Autonomy will help us if we look back at the situation and take responsibility for our actions, reflecting on them. And seeing them as something we did. Even if we lost control, we still are able to look at what it took for us to lose control and break it down to hopefully prevent it from happening again. So let's break it down. Firstly, you chose to go down the aisle of junk food in the supermarket. And that's where temptation got the better of you. So for one thing, you
understand that freewill is difficult to control in the face of temptation.
You can then plan better, what do you do next time you avoid going down that aisle in future.
That's one half of the problem solved.
Secondly, you felt good while eating the sweets or chocolates or other snacks that you bought. I mean, that's why you ate them. They gave you a short period of pleasure. You might feel bad afterwards. But there was a time of enjoyment. Accepting the enjoyment is the key to making a better plan in future. So what can you do? Well, one option is to plan to buy the snacks at a given time rather than deny them forever.
Once a week, you might get one or two of those snacks. You still get the pleasure and you get to eat them. But two things have changed. First, you get to enjoy them without that sense of guilt.
And secondly, next time you get tempted you're able to tell yourself that you'll indeed buy the snack but at a time that you have set aside
for some temptations and pleasures which are hollow. Delaying them is better than outright denial.
That way the knifes isn't provoked into guilt or escalation. It's given a little bit of what it wants, and we can move on.
As a result, you'll notice that you actually binge far less often supanova
Let's look at moments of joy as part of well being.
a fulfilled life is dotted with little moments every day, when we can truly take pleasure in appreciating and savoring good things, a smile, a pretty scene, a magnificent creation of a law of nature, or any pleasure from the senses. In food, we have been given a chance to relish its taste, its provision, and the opportunity that the occasion of mealtime gives us to connect with our families and friends. So there is joy in the act of eating. Eating any food is a chance to immerse our senses in the thankfulness and in that moment in itself, Allah instructs us to respect the food, pay attention to it, and nothing else while you eat.
We have to eat slowly, mindfully, bringing ourselves to that moment. trying this with even the most humble food can be a total revolution. As we will see later,
the foods are by far the finest in their mix of natural deep flavors and nourishment. Let's break down the process of eating mindfully to enjoy the moment. Firstly, there's the pleasure of sight.
So take a single date. If you can find it somewhere. Take it from its packet, and sit with it and spend some time first of all looking at this item of food. Give thanks to Allah for this remarkable little fruit packed with nutrients and moisture growing in the most unlikely of places in hot dry conditions.
Secondly, the pleasure of touch. Feel this food in your hands. carefully examine it slightly harder shell and press it to feel the soft flesh just beneath.
Break it or cut it up if you like. really examine what this food feels like. Give yourself that sensation of being in touch with the fruit.
Certainly the pleasure of smell. Take some of the flesh from the date. Spread it on your finger and see if you can smell it's subtle and rich aroma. Breathe slowly. Take your time about the process. Every single thing in your life is deliberately put there, appreciated.
And finally, the pleasure of taste. Now eat part of the fruit all of it. But do so slowly letting all of its taste and texture, flood your senses. Close your eyes if it helps. Chew it slowly and gratefully and swallow it after a while when you feel ready.
And let's move to the pleasure of contemplation.
Once you've swallowed some food, feel that sense of something nourishing your body. Imagine its journey as it's broken down and enters your blood nourishing every part of you as it surely will inshallah.
Ally instructs us to show good character and kindness in the way we treat his creations.
looking after our crops and animals in a way that doesn't harm them, or force them to grow unnaturally.
If you don't farm it yourself, make an effort to buy things which have been produced responsibly and kindly. Every penny you spend in this way changes the way we treat the world for the better.
This in itself should rightly give you a sense of deep joy. You have become more integrated and consistent in your approach to life all around. What's more, you'll be buying foods are actually better for you. As we discussed earlier.
This is the end of part one of the book, which is all about the knowledge of the tube. Part Two of the book is about applying the steps.
End of Chapter