By: Moustapha EEnuwa Kassim
PART1: Scientific perspective by understanding the relationship between our Brain, our Mind and our action or behavior.
In the brilliant book “You are not your brain” two neuroscientists Expert Jeffrey M. Schwartz and Rebecca Gladding explain how their 4 steps method can help break impure and destructive thoughts and change bad habits for good. If we adopt this 4 step with God consciousness, this can be tremendously helpful for our Ummah to counter-attack this corrupted Global secular culture which promotes immorality and immodesty as a way of life.
In an article written by John lee on the website choosehelp.com, he majestically explains the process like this:
“The philosophy behind the program is that your mind and your brain are not the same. Your brain influences your thoughts (your mind) and through this it can influence behaviors (such as drinking, or gambling etc.).
However, the same process can occur in reverse – your mind can also influence and change your brain and in doing so can help keep you from behaviors you feel to be negative. Through directed, intentional and conscious thinking (mindfulness) you can retrain your brain to stop sending harmful messages to your mind.
- When your brain sends an urge message and you give into it – you strengthen the brain pattern
- When your brain sends an urge message and you fight it – you also strengthen that brain pattern
- But when your brain sends an urge message and you acknowledge it, recognize its true source and re-label it as a false and harmful message – you weaken the brain pattern”
Next is the 4 steps developed in the Book.
First Step: RELABEL
When you receive the Whisper of Shaytan in your brain, don’t fight the thought, simply and deliberately acknowledge the urge or cravings, then look at it from the perspective an impartial outsider and literally say to yourself:
“this is a whisper of Shaytan, it is not a true need that I’m feeling right now, I don’t have to fantasize and act upon it, it is not real and it will pass and leave me in few minutes with the Help of Allah ta ala, though it may come back again,”
Second Step: REATTRIBUTE
This is the crucial part of the method and actually the title of the book “you are not your brain”. In this step you should define the source where the urge, impure thought is coming from and once again say to yourself:
“This urge, sinful thought is coming from my brain, my brain is sending me a false message, a whisper from shaytan the accursed, my enemy, I don’t have to listen to the false call. And remind yourself that it may come back sooner or later this will help you to weaken the intensity of future whisper of shaytan”
Golden rule:” if you give in to your temptation, you will become the slave of your desire and a prisoner of your urge and cravings.”
Third Step: REFOCUS
Temptations, impure thought can sometimes be really strong but fortunately if you don’t give in, they tend to go away. So say to yourself: “I’m experiencing something that against my Muslim faith, I don’t want to displease ALLAH ta ala, use this third step to turn to Allah for help.”
Some tips: Try to meditate by closing your eyes and picture or imagine the Glorious Name of our Creator “ALLAH” ta ala and speak to Him with your heart or you may try this daily technique of visualization of the name “ALLAH” on prophetic-path.com it has always works for me and many of my friends to overcome impure thoughts. And if you can, try to perform the minor or major purification and pray salatul Hajah. In case any lust is concerned, add reality to the fantasy, imagine he or she may have crooked teeth, bad breath and so on or just find something that will work for you before the tempest visits you. More tips: take 15mn walk don’t remain still, do some push-ups or any physical exercise, or simply call a friend to speak about important things.
Fourth Step: REVALUE
This last step is after the tempest has passed, now think honestly about past times when you used to give in to your temptation, urge and impure thoughts, the feeling of guilt, shame, abasement, dissatisfaction that follow the moment of sin. Recall some specific misfortunes that happened in your life and hurt the feelings of the people around you, your family etc. because you didn’t manage to overcome your bad behavior.
Golden rule: “Always remember temptation always promises you freedom but it never and will never deliver it to you.”
Adopt the following mindset: you are not your brain. You cannot in any way stop your brain to wander or receive impure and false message from Shaytan, however you can control how your response to any urge and temptation by using your will power with the Help of Allah ta ala. Moreover it is not what you think that matters at the end, but your actions and behaviors that will be accountable on the day of judgement.
Important: The 4 step will only work in sha Allah when it is practiced on a daily basis in a very conscious and deliberate way and make sure you have this 4 tools at hand when you are BROKE, HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY and TIRED, because shaytan tend to win the battle when we are in those states but with mindfulness we can knock him down. Some compulsive behaviors: excessive shopping, eating and drinking, also masturbation, sexual acting out, gambling, and more.
And remind yourself that you abstaining yourself for the pleasure and closeness of Allah ta ala, The Lord of the worlds. May peace and blessing be upon the best of creature, the Beloved, Al Mustafa and his family. To be continued.
MV Editor’s Note: The views and suggestions in this article are provided by way of general information and advice and are not a replacement for visiting a healthcare provider or for professional advice.