Asalaamu ‘alaikum, dear sister! I think of you each time I write, because I know that you are reading my message to you. I do wonder though, if you notice our connection. You and I are in a relationship; we communicate through this medium of words, and I feel privileged that I am able to share my thoughts with you. You and I are also connected because we are sisters in Islam, and lastly, because we are human beings sharing this wonderful life here on earth, Alhamdulillah.
If you take a moment to reflect, you will notice that human beings are connected through Allah’s natural creation. We all need to benefit from the same sun, eat from the same earth and utilise its resources. Our actions not only impact those close to us, but also have a far wider reach than we could even imagine. For example, imagine planting an apple tree in the open where anyone passing by has access. The apples grow each year, and anyone passing by can grab an apple and enjoy it. You planting that tree will have given sustenance and joy to countless people. Your impact will have been far wider than you would know.
In the same way, our day-to-day actions and interactions with the world have an impact that is beyond our immediate sight. For example, imagine that someone doesn’t recycle batteries. They just throw them away, without realising; they will have disposed of thousands of batteries, which will then add to the landfill, which will then impact the environment for future generations. Not appreciating that we have a responsibility to others can lead to irresponsible behaviour and a negative impact on others and our environment. By acting with a little bit of understanding and awareness, we can actually have our needs met and have a productive relationship with others and the world. In fact, acting with awareness can help us create a synergy with the world in such a way that we help make things better (for ourselves and others) through our efforts. A synergy occurs when two or more things come together and create something better than before. So, let’s explore a couple of ways we can create a more fulfilling synergy when living in the world.
First, establish a conscious relationship:
Some people are oblivious to the larger world; they remain focused on their own lives. Some people fight through life, feeling that the world is against them, and they must win at any cost. Then, there are those that live alongside the world. They are the spectators.
They live life on the sidelines, not really participating with the world in general. The first step to enhancing our relationship with the world is to know what kind of relationship we currently hold. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How do I view human beings and the world in general?
- Do I go out of my way to ensure that I have a positive effect on others?
- On a scale from one to ten, how much do I notice the effect that I have on others?
- What are three things I can do now to have a better relationship with people and the world?
Once you notice what kind of relationship you currently have, then write down the kind of relationship you would like to develop and three things that you will do to help you get there.
Spend time in nature
The general lifestyle trends we see these days are not conducive to maintaining a connection with the outside world. In fact, most youngsters now communicate virtually far more than they do in person. Technological advances, though valuable, may disconnect us from the real world. It is essential that we spend some time in nature, just to notice the life that is all around us, life that we are essentially one small part of. So, if you want to re-establish a relationship with the world, then you will be required to get out there and spend some time in it. Sit barefoot in your garden (or a park), and allow yourself to feel the sensation of the grass underneath your feet. Not only will this energise you, but you will feel real life instead of concrete beneath your feet. Do something special and take a trip to a local farm, and make an effort to pick some fruit yourself. Not only will this feel wonderfully energising, but you will also establish a newfound respect for the earth. Insha Allah, this will help you to create a greater awareness of your need for the world and then help you find ways to create a more fulfilling relationship with it.
Many people now have more than we need or even use. They buy more food than is consumed, have more than one phone or at least one unworn item of clothing in their closet. Having abundance is one thing, but it may lead to wastage, which then has a negative impact on the world. Landfills have a dangerous impact on our environment, and it is up to us to keep them to a minimum. One thing we can do to live more synergistically is to become conscious of what, and how much, we are consuming. If we are wasting something, then we must remember that this is a resource that someone else could have used. Become conscious of what gets wasted in your home, and take steps to reduce this. Recycle as much as possible. Think about those batteries or electrical items that you would normally throw away. It will take a little effort, but recycling them will definitely reduce the burden on the environment and for generations of people to come.
Walk around your house for a few minutes. Notice all the appliances that you have plugged in, especially the ones that you aren’t currently using. Each thing that you have plugged in is actually utilising valuable energy, even when it isn’t turned on. Not only is this adding to your own energy bills, but it is also adding to the burden on the environment through the release of further carbon emissions. What impacts the environment impacts all of us. Another step you can take to create synergy with the world is to just turn off the appliances that aren’t in use. After all, it will only take a moment to flip the switch.
Appreciate what you have
Living in this world of plenty isn’t easy. Having things are a responsibility because how we use them has an impact on the world. For example, whether you drive or not will impact the environment, and how you drive will impact other people. Fulfilling our responsibilities towards others and the world requires that we use our resources conscientiously. Reflect on how you can make better use of your resources. Perhaps sharing a car pool for the school run or walking to the nearby grocery store instead of driving. Each action you take will not only impact your life, but will have a productive impact on others and the world. However, in order to make full use of our resources, we must first learn to truly appreciate what we have. Spend 5 minutes every day making a list of 5 things that you enjoy in your life. Make sure to number the page one to five before you begin. This may be difficult initially, but soon your unconscious mind will come up with things to fill in the gaps. You will be surprised when you read the answers. Notice how grateful you are for these things, and taking steps to preserve them will then come naturally.
Sayeda Habib works with sisters to inspire them to find solutions to everyday problems and to change their lives for the better. If you want to get in touch with Sayeda, log on to www.makelifehappen.com, call
+44(0)207 402 0786 or email [email protected].