We have all heard the phrase you are what you eat and generally people agree with it. If one constantly eats unhealthy foods with lots of fat they end up feeling constantly tired and lazy. However, when one eats healthy and wisely they generate energy in themselves to keep them going and remain active.
What people forget is that the stomach is only one of the vessels of the Human. We have another set of vessels for our hearts and brains, whose inputs could be our sensory organs. What we see, hear, touch and say affects our hearts and brain as much as what we eat affects our stomach and energy reserves. Even though these are some of the most important vessels in our lives, I feel as if I am constantly neglecting them or not giving them the correct attention and nutrition they need.
Okay let me step back a second before I lose everyone. I want you to take a minute to look at your heart; your heart is your feeling and emotion organ. It also what holds your faith or level of imaan. At this point a scientist might want to point out to that the heart only pumps blood and does nothing more or less and that everything is from the brain. Technically he has a point, but from the point of view of the average human when we feel afraid, angry or love it comes from our heart. Scientifically one could say we feel these emotions through the change in the beating pattern of our heart and thus we associate emotions with our heart. It does not matter, for my purpose your heat is your feeling and emotion vessel and sorry for taking you on a loop :). Consider a relationship with any random person. If you constantly get positive input from that person you start liking them and they become your friend. If you constantly get negative input you start hating them and they become your enemy. If you just keep getting mixed signals, then they will probably will remain as acquaintances. Either way it was a series of inputs that filled your heart and made you consider a person in such a light. Thus your heart acted as a vessel in terms of your relation with that person. In the same sense your heart and brains are vessels for your own self and how you treat and fill them will directly affect how you treat the outside world and what you make of yourself.
For the sake of simplicity I will treat the heart and brain as one vessel since it sometimes hard to separate when each of the vessels are being filled by our sensory inputs. When you sit down and watch a movie, you receive a barrage of sensory inputs from your eyes and ears. One might consider a movie harmless entertainment; where you have fun and move on to more important things. It not harmless, everything affects and fills your vessel and this movie went right down and filled your vessel just as a cup of chocolate milk goes right down to your stomach (yum, just experienced it). In the bigger scheme of things, let say you spend every day studying religion for 5 hours and just watch a movie once a month. Yes it might not have such a big impact, but it will have an impact and we must be aware of how it impacts our hearts and brains. In reality one actually spends considerable less amount of time developing their hearts and brains and more time filling them with garbage.
We must really start paying attention to what we listen, what we see and what we read. Too many times I have heard the concept “oh I am just seeing what others listen to” or “it does not matter, I am never going to do what the movie tells me to, I know what right and wrong”. Sadly, what we do not realize is that our hearts and minds change so slowly that we never notice until it’s too late. When we start filling them with negative influences it will start affecting us immediately but in non-observable ways. We can’t just say oh if I notice it is affecting me, I will immediately change to something better, because at that time it would be too late.
It such a hard article to write and I write it mostly to remind myself than for anybody else. Just as much our body is an amana (trust) given to us by Allah, so is our hearts and brains and we must protect them at all costs. Otherwise, one day we will wake up and find ourselves not in the spot that we planned and hoped to be.
I will leave you with this; take a blank sheet of paper and make a list of all the different inputs that go into your heart and brain. Include reading, studying, comics, movies, music, religious studies, talking with friends, alone time, and prayer and so on. This list should encompass all you do in a single week. After that take the list and split it into two categories, beneficial to the heart/mind and non-beneficial/harmful. Take your time and think about each item and think how and if it made you a better person. If it did place it in your beneficial list, otherwise place it in the other list. This will give you a visual aid to see how you are filling your vessels. Hopefully one can then take advantage of that new information and may we all prosper and succeed in this life and the next.
Finally, I am not telling you remove all entertainment and fun from your life. They do have a purpose in our lives as long as they are within limits and in the end will help inspire us and refresh us to continue to develop and improve ourselves.