Channel: Tarek Kareem Harris
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The Arabic word salam, meaning peace originates from the same root as the word Islam, meaning peace and submission.
The Islamic outlook is that individual personal peace is attained by utterly submitting to Allah.
In the ideal world, it's hard to imagine why anyone who calls themselves peaceful would be otherwise. We do live in the real world, though. So it's not a surprise that Muslims and every other religion for that matter, have sometimes got caught up in some quite unpeaceful things.
Individual peace doesn't always translate into peace in the external world. In fact, true personal peace exists in spite of the noise and mayhem of the outside world.
The Muslim accepts that no matter how much peace he might find in himself, he will not be able to change the parts of the world outside his control.
What concrete things can we actually do to become inwardly peaceful?
Trying to see how to live like the definition of a Muslim is an interesting question.
The root of a wise life is not just in saying something, but actually doing stuff to live by those values.
If your mind is a noisy and unsettled place, and you want to become more like those very calm, serene kind of people who seem unruffled by life, then you need to do things to settle your mind.
Considering the makeup of the Muslim mind, again, the triangle at the top of which is your heart or your true character. And on one side at the bottom is the nuts with the ego and emotions. And at the other corner, the intellect for knowledge and problem solving.
Each one of those parts is busy trying to appraise the world around you. So you see things in different angles, often conflicting ones.
You scramble around trying to make sense of it. But this just makes you feel more confused.
But sensible thing to do, would be to become more accepting of this state of being.
Once this happens, you can see things more clearly.
Anxiety diminishes, and you can take situations in your stride.
Salah is one of the most powerful ways of separating yourself from the noise of the world.
It is your time to commune with Allah alone.
This is the first and original way of calm.
Another way is by meditating.
Islamic meditation has got a tradition of many hundreds of years. The Prophet peace be upon him meditated for many years, both before and after his prophethood.
Many of the revelations of the Quran itself came to the Prophet whilst he was meditating in the cave of Hira.
So we must take it that meditation is an important source of personal inner contentment.
The next exercise is therefore focused on Islamic meditation.
There are many different ways in which you can meditate islamically Sufism in particular, had some very beautiful, complex and deep ways of meditation.
If you wanted to do so formally, you could find a shake or a guide who could help you through that.
However, here's a simple method to try on your own. You only need to do it for around 15 to 20 minutes a day for it to have enormous benefits on the mind. This is a very short seven minute walk through. Find yourself a quiet space and I will talk you through it.
Are you ready?
Firstly, choose a quiet place to sit away from distractions. sit on the floor or on a chair. whatever is comfortable
with your back straight.
stare ahead at a fixed point in the middle distance
looking slightly beyond it or alternatively, close your eyes.
Now take slow deep breaths in an apt
use your full chest
Keep doing this.
Concentrate on your breathing.
focus purely on your breathing as much as you can
take time to enjoy getting this part right.
You can repeat the process for a total of 10 full breath cycles.
imagine the word Allah,
slowly sounding, at the pace of your heart beating.
Allah. Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah. Alternatively say Allahu, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah, Allah.
It might help if you want to say it out loud, softly, just under your breath. If it helps you to focus,
you might get intrusion from distractions. It's perfectly fine to feel distracted.
Accept it. And just invite your attention back to the inner rhythmic voice of Allah, Allah, Allah.
As you do this,
you should find that the inside of your mind becomes a little bit quieter.
Your mind can wander if it wants to.
In order to focus it, if it does wander.
focus it on the sensations you're getting from your body.
Start perhaps by focusing on what you can feel in your feet
and move slowly upwards.
You can feel what's going on in your shins and in your knees
and in your thighs.
Moving up to your belly and your lower back.
Keep moving that consciousness upwards
until you feel it in your chest.
And you can feel it in your shoulders
and down your arms.
You're still breathing slowly.
And you're still hearing the words Allah. Allah, Allah, Allah.
If it helps, you could imagine the word Allah as a softly glowing light, which is inhabiting your body. pulsating as you say the word Allah, Allah
when you're in this state, invite your thankfulness to thank Allah for the opportunity to experience your mind and body in this way.
whatever noises and whatever distractions are in your mind, are perfectly fine.
Let them come and go as they please.
And just exist.
Feeling what's going on around you.
And hearing your own inner voice, Allah,
You can end this process at any time.
You just count down from 10 breaths to zero
slowly feel yourself
and your consciousness returning
to this space where you are in,
shift your gaze or open your eyes
and you should feel more energized
and you should feel grounded to the space around you
and there in the exercise
inshallah, you will have felt a sense of calm and a sense of accepting whatever is going on in your mind. You don't have to judge what goes on in your mind. You simply accept it and let it be.
You are simply in a state of receiving