'You start to become more aware of the signs around you that permeate every living thing. The heart softens, the senses heighten in receptivity as you step out of your mind and into the present moment to see things for what they are...'
Selma Maloumi talks us through the concept 'Mindfulness' through a spiritual lense and how mindfulness can be used to improve spiritual connection with a few practical tips.
Selma Maloumi is a graduate in BSc Biology and MSc Medicinal Natural Products and Phytochemistry at UCL. She shares knowledge on all aspects of health on her Instagram blog @SeedsOfSelma, as she believes it is multifaceted, as we are.
Mindfulness has been increasingly spoken about over the last few years in the wellness space – as a way of existing, of developing intentionality, which is something that has long been taught in the Prophetic tradition. Mindfulness is the practice of purposely bringing one's attention in the present moment without judgment.
It is defined as developing a presence of self, thoughts, emotions, behaviour and can be developed as a regular practice to improve various aspects of one’s life.
In the context of this short blogpost, we will be discussing how mindfulness can be used to improve spiritual connection with a few practical tips.
The foundation of everything we do should be good intentions. It is about setting the spiritual standard and prioritising spiritual health. We should regularly check in with ourselves and search for our why. Rooting ourselves in good intentions allows us to remain firm in whatever we do.
1. Consciousness of God
You start to become more aware of the signs around you that permeate every living thing. The heart softens, the senses heighten in receptivity as you step out of your mind and into the present moment to see things for what they are: manifestations of the Divine. Even something as simple as a walk in a park can transform into a moment of intense reflection, awe and of closeness to The Creator. You become in constant conversation with Allah.
Find pockets in your day where you can dedicate time to Dhikr, Salawat, Istighfar - it becomes habitual. Keep your tongue moist, and your heart alive with remembrance. Time is a gift, and every moment can be used to increase us in barakah, protect us from sin, weigh heavily on our scales and take one step closer to Allah.
Dhikr walk – bring your tasbih beads with you on your next walk and as you are doing dhikr, listen to the birds who are sharing this moment of supplication with you. Look to the sky, the clouds, the trees, the grasses. Pay attention to the breath that enters and leaves your lungs by the will of Allah, The Expander, The Contractor. Journal these reflections down and ponder on them.
2. Awareness of self
By regularly checking in with yourself and evaluating your behaviour, actions and words, you come to know your Nafs, your shortcomings, mistakes. You start to see patterns and the aspects of yourself that require healing. You become less reactive, and act more out of wisdom, love and understanding. Instead of feeling paralysed with guilt, this shifts into a deep sense of humility. You become motivated to be better, to elevate, and these aspects propel you to strive in the way of Allah.
By putting in this effort, you become closer the fitrah: the preordained nature of creation - created to worship.
Compliments no longer go to your head, and criticisms no longer go to your heart. This is because you know yourself and he who knows himself, knows His Lord. Umar RA said “evaluate yourselves before you are evaluated and weigh out your scales before they are weighed out for you. It’s easier for you to evaluate yourself today before the ultimate Hisaab tomorrow”
Regularly check in with yourself – reflect on the experiences/events that you handled well, and reactions that indicate that deeper work is necessary. See every opportunity as a way to develop your character. Reflect on the things that you are grateful for and the things you want to achieve.
3. Mental/emotional awareness, emotional intelligence
In your interactions with everyone you come into contact with (whether on a regular basis or less frequently), you revive the forgotten Sunnah of treating every single person with love, and care and you make them feel as if they are the most beloved to you. Because you are existing in the present, as opposed to in your mind, you give them your full attention. The Prophet SAW would turn his entire body when speaking with someone. He was mindful of the person and how they would feel during the interaction.
Pay attention to people when you are with them, put away distractions and take in the entire person: their tone of voice, their body language. Give them your undivided attention and make them feel special, because they are, and you are for making them feel that way.
4. Intentional consumption
This awareness shifts into mindfulness of what you consume physically, , mentally and emotionally. You do all things with love. If any action is rooted in intention, the barakah will be felt and experienced. For instance, in the context of health, we can consider the body as an Amanah (a trust) that carries our souls throughout the course of this life. By looking after it and loving it, this is an act of Shukr to The Creator. Through everything you do for yourself, you are thanking Allah and expressing gratitude for how He has created you.
Pay attention to the foods you eat and how alive you feel, the mental clarity and the abundance of energy you experience and eat accordingly– eat foods that nourish, strengthen and build your body. The mind body and soul are all connected
Look after your body, your mind, your emotions. Prioritise nutrition, movement, stress reduction/management, mindset and sleep. Health is multifaceted and we need to assess and work on all aspects of our existence.
In the context of what we consume emotionally, pay attention to what you expose yourself to, how these things make your heart feel and develop mindfulness of your consumption. The heart is a vessel that only pours out what it contains.
Mindfulness and intentionality are tools that can be used to excel in all aspects of our existence by turning an average task into an act of ibadah by honouring that which Allah has given you.