Students’ Discussion on “Thoughts” at IT-hub, Sargodha
On may the 25th our esteemed chairman Dr. M.A Pasha and I Invited the IT-HUB students of BSSE 5th semester to take part in a discussion that is one very close to my heart. The topic of discussion was the topic of “thought” itself, the methods of thinking and the factors that can influence individual thought processes. Here, I will try to expand on that so that others might be able to take from it what they choose.
Individual thought is shaped by a person’s unique history, beliefs, morals, family, location and even their socio-economic status. All these factors are the lenses through which we perceive the world around us. I use the word “Perceive” deliberately as occasionally what we believe to have experienced is not as it truly is. What may seem right to one person might invoke a negative response in another. Each person is seeing the world from his singular point of view and to understand this fact is of paramount importance. If someone’s viewpoint differs from yours, this does not necessarily mean one is wrong and the other has to be right. Far from it. What is true for you might not be the definition of truth for you peers. This leads us to the statement that there can be multiple truths. As Plato (A Philosopher in ancient Greece) once said that Every object has a true form that is known as the “basal truth”. And the only way we can see this is if we have infinite knowledge. This leads us to realize that we cannot reach this singular perfect truth as we are only human and our intelligence along with our life is ultimately Finite. All we can do is increase our knowledge of the subject and view it from different angles to get a step closer to this basal truth. This can be applied in your studies, profession, politics and personal relationships. As our knowledge changes, so does our truth.
Acknowledging what one does not know is the most important first step in any learning endeavour. In our society one of the biggest shortcomings we face is our inability to admit our misjudgements. If a weakness is pointed out, instead of taking that into consideration with the aim of eliminating the weakness and turning it into strength, we react with anger, venom and hate. We use it as an opportunity to point out the flaws in others. This is prevalent in our society from top to bottom! Once we face these shortcomings with a desire to better ourselves this opens up a slew of possibilities for personal growth and leads down the path of self-realization.
Who we are and what we are should be questions that every enlightened member of society ponders on. Most of our Students and Staff are Muslim and believe that we are “the best of creations”. We should not overlook this description. In fact we should analyse why we have been labelled as such. What are the characteristics and qualities that separate us from the rest of the animal kingdom? A female cat feeds and shelters her young just as our mothers do. A male sparrow provides food and a home for its hatchlings just as our fathers do. Lion siblings play fight just as we do. Animals eat when hungry, sleep when tired and life their lives just as we do. So the question we have to always think about is what is it that separates us from them and what makes us the “best of creation”. I believe the deciding factor is our ability to reason, our ability to question the world around us along with our ability to use logic in our daily lives. We have been equipped with these blessing for a reason and it is high time we begin to use them.
Most of our lives we are on autopilot. Most of us travel to and from our beloved IT-HUB six times a week. Yet we do this journey without exerting any mental energy at all. We use this time instead to think about the cricket match last night, that post on facebook or even the conversations we had the previous day. Even at times when we are supposed to be concentrating, such as in lectures, our mind drifts to subjects unrelated. We allow these thoughts to affect our feelings and mood which in turn can have an effect on how we deal with others. There is a stream of endless mental chatter that is universal to all. Yet it is this stream of thought that we should learn to control if we are to better ourselves. Mindfulness, by definition, is the process of bringing ones attention to everything around us and most importantly the thoughts and feelings inside us without judging them. When we practice mindfulness we can learn to focus on what we are sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future. This, consequently, grants us the ability to be more efficient and enjoy each moment as we live it rather than wasting it in a state of just being. Try not to just go with the flow. Observe it, Analyse it, Question its effect on you and those around you and bring it to the attention to others.
Before I leave you I would like to share a beautiful example I once heard:
Imagine if every morning you wake up you are given 87000 dollars. You are told it is yours to do with as you see fit. However, you are also told that at the end of the day all the remaining money will disappear. What will you do?
Of course, you would try to spend as much of it as you could before the rest disappears.
Now I want you to realize that each day you are blessed with nearly 87000 seconds.
How many of these precious seconds do we waste? How many of these to we use to better ourselves? How many do we use to enrich our life? How many to help those around us?
Once they are gone we do not get them back.
So let us try to spend at least a few of these golden seconds each day to think about who and what we are? Why we are here and how we can help.
Most importantly InshaAllah I hope this can help us think and question the world around us in hopes of making it a more peaceful, mindful and intellectual place.
Change always starts from within.
Dr. Muneeb-ur-Rehman Pasha