The Art of Happiness

Happiness is An Art (Al-Qarni, 2005). It is important that at any point in life one has to achieve happiness. In the state of happiness, one operates with a clear state of mind and it allows one to be productive.

 

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Why Al-Qarni identified Happiness is An Art? How one can learn to be happy? After reading Al-Qarni, I found three ways that one can learn to be happy. The same means can be exercised to preserve that state of happiness.

First, happiness is an art that needs to be learned. One has to develop the ability to endure and to cope with any situation is a the fundamental principle for this art of learning. The heart can’t be swayed nor be controlled by big calamities and challenges in life or by insignificant trifles. In simple words, one needs to self-train to be patient and forbearing. In long run, she/he would easier to bear and manage the hardships or calamities. In addition, Al-Qarni also emphasized that a purify heart facilitates the development of this ability and coping mechanism.  One needs to pursue this exercise in life until the ability to endure and the coping mechanism become her/his second nature.

Second, happiness is a state of mind. Bridle one thought and restrain it. This is also one of the fundamental principles for the art of learned happiness. Al-Qarni warned that if 0ne let his/her mind to wander as it wish, then the mind will run wild and control his/her. By the way Al-Qarni explained, I have this understanding that our brain–our mind, has its own life and its own wants. Thus, we should have control to our brain and don’t let our brain control us. If we failed to do so, as described by Al-Qarni, our brain will walk us to the past woes, remind of misfortunes, images of past difficulties, images of uncertainties of future that is so frightening etc. All of these thoughts could shaken our beings and flare our thoughts.

Third, happiness is the ability of a person to value life according to its merit and worth. Basicly Al-Qarni said that life is imperfection. Misfortunes, calamities, challenges, insignificant trifles are all natural life events equal to happiness, opportunities, achievements etc. One cannot remove oneself from all remnants of grief, as they are natural life events. One way to ‘turn-away’ is to learn value them for its merit and worth. Re-label and reframe them in positive outlooks in our life context helps use to value them for its merit and worth. Since we’re in the belief that happiness is acquired by the practice of learning, Al-Qarni said, happiness is acquired by assuming it. He suggested a simple method, practice happiness through your lips! I mean practice happiness by learning to smile. Make smiling your second nature. Constantly smiling. Find reasons to bring genuine smiles to your lips. Any reasons will do. Even though it’s hard (I know, I hardly can deny this), one has to force oneself to smile in every situation. While I’m writing this, I’m smiling. Somehow, with the smile in my lips, I found my heart and mind are uplifted. Surprisingly without any reason too. It works for me!

In conclusion, a state of happiness is an essential condition for one to have a clear mind and productive regardless of life situations. Don’t take heart with life situations, they are all natural events to reality. Three means to gain the Art of Happiness suggested by Al-Qarni (2005) that the state of happiness could be learned, one has to control and manage his/her mind and gain the ability to value life according to its merit and worth.


 

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Do Not Be Chaotic In Your Life

Bismillah.

The title sounds scary to me. Reflecting on the title, I’m the cause of chaos in my life. How that could possibly be?

Al-Qarni explained that humans tend to overburden themselves with self-expectations on doing many things that are unrealistic to achieve on their plan time. Their unrealistic self-expectations exhaust them to be persistent and throw them into boredom well that weakens their spirit of wanting to complete their preplans. If humans are not able to retain themselves to their commitment, they will end up abandoning their preplan missions and this lead to chaotic life.

How not to be the source of chaos in your own life through Four Advice: 

1.Prioritize goals and set-up action plan. I need to identify my goals and then evaluate them based on their priorities. It is critical to choose them carefully what are my priorities and what are not. And then listed them according to the priority order, from the top priority to lesser priority. Find a determinant factor on how to organize them, I can use deadline dates to organize them into order for instance. And then use these priorities accordingly to work on their set-up action-plans. I have to make sure the goals are measurable, in long terms as well as short terms.

I also learn that huge missions are built on small missions and small connected action plans. Like how to get a degree in six years? So I plan the big goals but attach to them with sets of attainable action plans within a shorter period.

2. Be consistent and make progress every day. Keeping the first advice in view, I need to be consistent with what I plan to achieve and to do even if I’m able to do it only a little at a time. Al-Qarni stressed in these two features as the utmost importance– consistency, and small achievement every time. What most important is that you’ve made progress every day. 

3. Pen down and Display goals to my eyes. In addition to Al-Qarni, I write the goals and priorities on papers, and then I display them in a place where I can see them every day. It literarily has a substantial positive impact on me every day. When I saw the notes stuck on the wall, I become aware and self-conscious that I have to complete these targets and priorities.

4. Revise your goals and action plans. If I’m overwhelmed with all the actions plans and fear that I will not achieve my goals, I always can alter my action plans. Always Remember: Don’t Panic! Don’t be Frustrated. Don’t Give Up! It is not the end of the world if you don’t achieve your targets with your laid out action plans. That tell me that it’s time to evaluate your missions and action plans then revise them accordingly. Like people always say, there are 26 alphabets if your Plan A failed, and your Plan B failed, its okay, you have 24 more plans. The most pertinent are that you have to face the reality that I won’t achieve my goals with the action plans, that most practical things to do are to revise them. So why wait, do now! 

 

In conclusions, I could be the source of chaos to my own life. However, I have a choice to exit that chaos world with appropriate strategies. I can always revisit my specified goals and their action plans when they don’t work well. I have to be consistent and make progress every day regardless how small they are. Pen down my goals and display them where I can see them consistently as reminders and motivations.  Let’s flip the coin: if I could be the source of chaos to my own life, I also could be the confident boosters to an organized adventure to my sweet life.

 

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Let’s Flip the Coin: If I’m the source of chaotic life of mine, I’m definitely the confident boosters to an organized adventure of the sweet life of mine too. Let’s Do It!

 

Enough for You Is Your Home

Enough for You Is Your Home. What does it mean? Does it infers, Do you isolate yourself at home and never go out? What do you think? …

After reading Al-Qarni written thoughts on this phrase that he elaborated succinctly in about a page, I found that he uses an analogy to explain why I need to protect my mind (or brain?) from negative voices. Negative voices in human thoughts are hazardous to our brain or mental health. They induce the brain to idleness and incapacitated. In the worst situation, they trigger depression and hopelessness to live. The Home that Al-Qarni refers to is the human brain or so I believe the mental health. 

The ‘Home’ that Al-Qarni refers to the human brain. The human brain should be protected if one to live a meaningful life. Al-Qarni suggests one should practice isolation or seclusion. 

What advantages can we gain if we persistently created isolation or seclusion? The advantages are no other than benefits to our brain or mental health growth and vitality! Al-Qarni argued that when humans are able to seclusion from the negative voices, there will be a free space for the human brain to breathe. The free space is necessary for the brain to live!

How to achieve the buffer and help the brain to prospect? Al-Qarni has suggested EIGHT ways that easy to be practice daily, and they are as the following: 

  1. Create a free space brain. Al-Qarni argued that when humans are able to seclusion from the negative voices, there will be free spaces for the human brain to breathe. The free space is identified by the brain as an opportunity to reflect, to think, to graze in the meadows of enlightenment.
  2. Avoid and keep away from evils. To facilitate this process of creating free space further, one need to keep away from evils — toxic people and people with foolish motives– and keep them at a distance. 
  3. Avoid attending unworthy gatherings that lead to frivolity and shallowness activities. Instead, it is more productive for me to participate in the learning circles the give more meaningful impact on your life,
  4. Persistently fortify myself to my goals and isolate myself, except, when I am able to speak well or to do well. Here what it means is that random conversations with foolish motives should be eliminated as they have no benefits to the brain growth nor vitality.  In fact, I believe, the random conversations clog and haze my thoughts from positive and productive thinking. They
  5. Use my time productively to avoid falling into idleness trap. This action prevents my life being wasted.
  6. Hold my tongue from backbiting. Avoid initiate or listen to any conversation that triggers bad thoughts of someone even though they have done wrong to you. Leave them to Allah, let Allah deal with them. Allah is Ultimate Protector and Defense.
  7.  Free your heart from anxiety. Put trust in Allah in whatever things in my life. Always recite Zikrullah in my heart and utter through my lips, so there will be no space for Syaitan ni rajjim whispering evils that trigger anxiety that eventually engulf my inner peace.  
  8. Preserve my ears as well as my lips from profanity is the final advice. 

 

In conclusions, when we seclude ourselves from evils and idleness, free spaces are created. These free spaces are oxygen to my brain to stimulate into action. Therefore, the free spaces serve as an essential function of the healthy brain and mental health to grow and expand and sometimes to recuperate from crises. Free spaces also function as the nurturing and promotive agent to create toxic-free-environment that promote the brain to generate and expanding new cells faster and freely. These free spaces is an essential cure to my healthy thoughts and thus good mental health. Adopting the eight simple ways daily will provide a continuous opportunity for free spaces in my brain thus it is able to continuously become productive and creative thoughts. 

 

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My Home is My Brain and its Mental Health

 

 

Discover Yourself!

Aaid Al-Qarni reminds me the reader, You’re created uniquely. The inner self in you wants to own an identity and personality that you alone owns it. Discovering yourself will not be achieved by imitating others while you’re growing up. If you do, you will be a miserable person. As Emerson dramatically claimed, “… imitation is suicide. …”!  But how to start from zero to discover yourself? Don’t you agree that we have to start somewhere! I guess imitation is the most common way people learn to create a personality that they called their own because they don’t know where the journey should begin.

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What epochs of a life journey that you have discovered yourself? Is there only one or many? is there once in a life time or many times as you walk the life? Share your thoughts so I can learn and better understand how for me to discover my full potentials.

‘Aaidh ibn Abdullah al-Qarni suggested a simple way discovering yourself. According to his description, I need ‘to read’ myself to know myself. From here, I will get to know my mission in life, weaknesses and strengths as well as the limitations. With all these qualities (and the improvement of these elements) that I have, I will use all of them to strive to accomplish my mission in life.

This post is organic. I would love to proceed Discover Yourself to facilitate my journey, a non-native English speaker to be a communicative writer. It is so fundamental to my dreams and discovering my true self.

What is it with TODAY?

What is it with TODAY? …

Today Donald Trump is the elected president of the United States. My housemate woke up with a loud cry! “Kak Jana! Wake-up, wake-up, Trump won the election”. She continued to express her uncertainty (or I would say more of anxiety) of her safety during her 4-year stay to finish the Ph.D. program, here in the United States. Well, I don’t blame her for that feeling, my anxiety is low since my finish line is already at the corner.

Am I surprise with the news? NO.

Somehow, I had this intuition last Spring (2016). I expressed this concern during a diversity panel discussion on racial issues on campus. I told the audience (who are all the respectable members of the faculty) that the political climate and the direction it was taking all Americans were not good signs. Whatever it is, it’s over … at least four years from now.  I guess the voting citizens had to decide on someone to lead the country. It must be hard for all  Americans to live with the decisions that they have made and those who are affected by the majority decision.

Nevertheless, I wish all the best to the Americans on their new 4-year journey with President Trump. My wish is that they will hold on tight to their Statue of Liberty!

I’m telling myself the future has not come. Do not worry; you have not seen tomorrow. I’m also chanting to myself, keep doing what you’re doing and be steadfast. Like the (adapted) words of Aaid al-Qarni, (2005:33) ” Do you think it’s wise plucking fruits before they become ripe? “. Absolutely not! 

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My Mantra to deal with the uncertainty of tomorrow!