“Change is inevitable, but personal growth is a choice.”
“Had a paradigm shift, like I met Morpheus….”
This morning i was listening to some BOB, and he was talking about “Paradigms.” He says that Paradigms are a multitude of habits–most of which we don’t voluntarily adopt, but rather, we were programmed with them from the time of our childhood and infancy. As a matter of fact, people were making decisions five generations ago that are currently influencing our thinking and behavior. Hence, in reality, many of our habits are not “our” habits but the habits of those who were around us (and before us). If we wish to change our Paradigm, then, we need to consciously overwrite the negative and useless programming that is already in our minds. Only we can do this (bi’idhnillah)–and this takes persistence and determination. Nonetheless, if we change our patterns of thought, then (by the norm), our behavior will change, and then our results and circumstances will change (bi’idhnillah).
Some important points:
1. First and foremost, one must understand that whatever the Creator has willed to occur, it will occur. There is only One Creator. We don’t “create” anything (even our thoughts and intentions are created by the Creator). Hence, when we speak about changing our thoughts and thereby our circumstances, we are only speaking about customary norms. These changes do not take place by necessity, but rather, they are causes and effects that Allah wills to occur–or not to occur.
2. We need to recognize that we have been programmed. The way we think is not a necessity, but it’s just a thought pattern that we–whether we wish to admit it or not–are usually comfortable with. We can’t insist on indulging in the same thought patterns and expect that we will behave differently (and consequently get different results in our lives).
3. Many of us are in the habit of letting present circumstances dictate our thinking and what we are capable of.
4. The results of our current thinking patterns support our Paradigm. And then we engage in more of those thoughts, and more of those behaviors, and get more of those results. The results reinforce the thinking–the thinking (and behavior) reinforces the results… which reinforces the Paradigm.
5. The way to break the cycle of vicious-thinking is to voluntarily choose new thoughts. This also means that one decides not to allow external circumstances to dictate his internal condition. One must develop inner strength and determination and focus so that he is driven from within and not from without.
6. The solution lies in:
A) Having worthy goals. This enables the person to have a target that will enable him to rise above circumstances
B) Developing the confidence that the worthy goals are attainable. Others have done what is similar to what we would like to do. What is largely holding the person back is past (negative) programming–and that is all that it is, namely, programming. The negative programming became part of our Paradigm through repetition. We change that negative programming through repetition–the repetition of positive affirmations.
D) Trust in Allah and Yaqeen (Certitude)–that is, being certain that no one or thing creates except Allah. Making lots of dhikr sows the seeds of Tawakkul (Trust in the Creator) deeper and deeper into the heart. We (should) put forth our best effort to attain lofty goals, while remembering the saying of the spiritual master:
My heart is at ease because I know whatever was meant for me will never miss me, and whatever misses me was never meant for me.
Hence, we strive for a balance between ambition and contentment. We want what is good for ourselves and others. We seek to positively influence the world–all the while recognizing that NO ONE is the Creator except Allah. And as Muslims, we don’t object to the Creator–rather, we submit to the One Who created us and everything else.