Yesterday it dawned on me that in actuality human beings are amazing, SubhanAllah (Glory be to Allah)! There are so many complex processes occurring all at once, in our bodies as well as our minds and hearts. Take our thinking processes for instance. We think at different levels, from conscious thinking to unconscious thinking. Then there’s our emotions, we have the ability to shift from one emotion to another in just a matter of time. What about the biology of our bodies, we can never fully understand this! Truly Allah, Exalted is He, is a perfect Creator!
However, it also sadly dawned on me that while we were created in such perfection, we are so far away from reaching our true potential. Most of us simply drift through life, unaware and oblivious, working hard to attain material happiness that we don’t even bother taking the time to reflect on the things that matter.
I am certain that if we spent more time contemplating, reflecting and simply paying attention, to our own processes as well as other people’s then we will have a much better quality of life, with better relationships and true peace. What do I mean by this? Well for instance, say we had to focus more on our own thoughts and feelings, if we took time out to reflect before we spoke, to work through our confusing emotions and jumbled thoughts instead of haphazardly communicating, then we would ease a lot of the tension which tends to exist. Moreover, if we had to actually pay attention to the people we communicate with. If we focused more on their feelings, and actually truly listened to what they are saying to us (verbally and non-verbally) then we would be able to naturally be more compassionate and understanding, bringing about far better connections with others.
But of course, the big problem is that living according to our true potential as humans means that we have to work much harder at things. We have to actually live on a higher level, reflect more, speak less, listen much, much more and become more understanding. And I guess it’s much easier to dwell in a semi-conscious state, unmindful of our words and actions and nonchalant about the repercussions of what we do and the effects it has on others.
The thing that hit me the most yesterday was that the ideal human being is actually a reality, and this person is none other than our beloved Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). He lived in perfection, his life is a true model. He took time to understand people and he made everyone feel special. His relationships were of such a high quality that even his enemies couldn’t point out flaws in his character and interactions. In short, if you want to know what true human potential is, then you have the perfect model in Our Beloved Prophet (pbuh). Does this mean that we can never achieve these sort of high standards? Of course it doesn't.
You see, we have everything that we need to be human beings of high quality (for lack of a better term). We have the perfect example, a complete and detailed manual so to speak, if we follow the Glorious Quraan and the Sunnah (way of life) of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in completion. We also therefore have the tools we need and the method to go about changing. So we have no excuse to be excellent people, with great relationships and positive interaction with others. The only catch is that we have to work hard to become excellent. So the life of those who want to achieve their true potential as holistic and complete human beings, will be a life of toil and sacrifice, a life of striving and searching, yearning and seeking, falling and standing, but it will be a life defined by meaning.
I would like to invite you all on this quest to reach our true potential. Allah Almighty created human beings as the best of his creation, yet we wish to be like the lower creations (something I was reminded of when I heard an old song the other day in which the singer boldly sings, “I want to be like animals, careless and free”). It’s ridiculous really, to have all this potential and do nothing with it. To have the ability to be amazing, yet settle to be average. It doesn't make sense, does it? So let’s go on this quest, and the first step is to become more aware, to take time to reflect and to pay attention. That doesn't sound too difficult, does it? After all, Allah, Exalted is He, has called us the “Best of all Creations” for a reason.