written by Princess R. Lakshman
Let us explore the MIND (which is NOT your brain, by the way) and how the mind is responsible for our thoughts, words, and actions. The brain is an organ whereas the mind is something larger and complex in nature. It is the part of the self which is ghaib, unseen.
It is commonly believed that the human mind works on two levels – the conscious and the sub-conscious.
The conscious mind is responsible for your awareness – for example, right now you may be aware that you are reading this column, or that you are breathing or the soft or hard surface you may be sitting on, or the environment you are in.
The subconscious mind is the storage area. It is a reservoir of every single sensory body experiences. It holds 100% of everything and acts as a vast ocean of information for the conscious mind to tap into and access.
The subconscious mind is also where perceptions and beliefs are formed. For example, when a child is bullied for being overweight, that child will most likely have a perception that his/her weight defines his/her abilities in life. This perception may cause the child to avoid trying a new sport at school because he/she is embarrassed about being overweight and feeling unworthy. This limited perception of self leads the child to accept the closed-minded identity of self and repetitive, negative self-talk: “I am fat, therefore I’m not good enough”.
Of course, this is a completely false perception but the child is not aware that it is false because the child is not aware that he/she can actually transform the negative perception into a positive one.
It is the child’s body that is overweight not the child’s Essential Self. The child has unlimited potential to do any activity he/she puts the mind to. However, the subconscious mind has formulated a negative perception hence the negative self-talk and poor self-esteem.
As adults, our thought patterns, self-talk and behavioural patterns are very much influenced by how we perceived ourselves in childhood. Pause for a moment and reflect on your own behaviours, thought patterns and self-talk…can you connect the dots and trace them back to your child self?
Use this week to make a note on what your common thoughts and patterns are, for example, are you afraid of the dark? Are you fearful of crowds? Do you feel uncomfortable when someone gives you a compliment? Do you get angry when someone jokes about your physical appearance? Do you find pleasure in mocking others or being sarcastic? Do you feel insecure about yourself when you see other people’s accomplishments.
Have a Feelings Journal to record these daily observations. Pay particular attention to your self-talk and visuals that recur in your mind…for example, what movie do you play in the cinema of your mind? Are you a villain, victim, or victor? Are you kind in how you perceive yourself and others?
Remember, when you are kind and caring to self then you are able to be kind and caring to all of ALLAH’s creation.
Always remember, you are not your experiences. You are the FORCE that overcomes them.
For more inspiration, check out the YouTube Channel for Muslimah Mind Matters