Are You Living Your Life By Design Or Default?

written by Princess R. Lakshman

Did you know that apart from the five senses of sight, smell, touch, taste and hear, ALLAH subhaanu wa ta’ala has also blessed us with six mental faculties?

Six Faculties of the Human Mind

  1. Intuition
  2. Imagination
  3. Will
  4. Perception
  5. Memory
  6. Reason

ALMIGHTY ALLAH gives us challenges and tests on a daily basis whereby every moment in life one needs to make use of these six faculties of the mind and react or respond to the five senses. 

The simple thing to understand is that if you are living your life on a default you are operating on a default setting known as REACTION. In other words, HABITS. It is up to you whether these habits are serving you or not. The goal is to live a life of habits that help one’s spiritual growth – in other words, have a habit of choosing the right food, beverage, physical activity, mental activity and spiritual practices.

Negative habits that revolve around reactionary choices may end up causing a spiritual deficit in your life. The result of living on this reactive mode is that you are not pausing to evaluate your life and make sense of your habits, patterns and ingrained self-talk.  You are giving in to your nafs (sensory desires) and hence Living Life on a DEFAULT mode.

Now, the ideal Muslim life is to pass those tests and challenges daily that ALMIGHTY ALLAH places in our lives so that we may grow more joyful, kind, considerate and perform righteous deeds which please ONLY ALLAH.

Al-Ankaboot Verse No:9

وَالَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَنُدْخِلَنَّهُمْ فِي الصَّالِحِينَ {9 

Verily! Allah is with those who do good deeds.

How To Live Life By Design

Living life by design requires us to pause and evaluate our thoughts, words and actions every single moment and perform righteous deeds that are pleasing to ALMIGHTY ALLAH. That in itself is an enormous challenge.

There are strategies that you may use daily to understand and transform your life so that you are not reacting but responding to life’s tests and challenges.

  1. Gratitude – every morning, upon waking, thank ALMIGHTY ALLAH for the new day HE has blessed you with. Thank ALLAH for making you Muslim, thank ALLAH for your family and loved ones and your health.
  2. Record your behaviour for seven days – make notes in a journal about how you react or respond to life’s daily challenges. Write without judgment.
  3. Analyse your behaviour – now take each behaviour pattern that you recorded in your journal and analyse it with deep reflection. (Contact me if you require help with this: email or WhatsApp +61451977786). Usually, a timeline of your life can help with behaviour analysis. Noticing what happened in your life helps you understand how those behaviour patterns were formed. For example, it was very early in my life, around the age of five, that I was told that Muslims were “bad people, traitors and cheaters”. I only figured this out when I worked on my personal timeline. This phase requires you to use the six faculties of your mind mentioned above.
  4. Challenge your behaviour – this is the phase that requires you to be completely honest with yourself and tell yourself that your ultimate purpose is to be and remain a Muslim. Challenge your behaviours and ask yourself if they are in alignment with ALLAH’s commandments.
  5. Transform your behaviour – be kind to yourself. Transformation does not happen overnight. It requires a proper strategy, discipline and immense support from people who want the best for you. These people are always positive and display good, righteous deeds. Seek help from these people to start your transformational journey.
  6. Reflect on your transformation daily – the best time to do this is after Fajr when your mind is alert. Reflect on your behaviour patterns from the day before and check-in with yourself regarding your transformation.
  7. Teach someone else how to become aware of their habits and support them in their transformational journey. When you engage in being of service to another, you are obliged to practise what you preach.

Alhumdolillah, I have been Muslim since 2012. Prior to 2012, my thoughts, words and deeds were in a toxic, repetitive cycle of reactions of negativity, self-loathing and aggression towards self and others. My choices were harmful to my mind, body and spirit. I consumed alcohol, abused substance, abused people and myself and lived in a cycle of victimhood and blame-game. If someone who was as terribly behaved as me can find joy in life through self-awareness and daily gratitude of Islam, anyone can.

Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.

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Photo of Princess R. Lakshman taken by Haya Films, Brisbane 

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