What’s in a Lifestyle?
I know that the following words may be a simple, logical deduction to say that what’s in a lifestyle... is life. However, the study of this post is more so about a self-examination of the styles of our life. Our lifestyles entail the quality and direction of our lives. You may recall sayings that go something like this: “Tell me who you hang with and I’ll tell you who you are” or “Tell me what school you go to and that will tell me a lot about you” (or even what neighborhood you live in or the brand of clothing you wear). In this post, we want to examine our lifestyles as our lifestyles, in truth, brand the kind of person that thus far we’ve become.
Have you ever heard the saying “You are what you eat”? This is to say that everything we put in our body deeply affects our expressions. Have you noticed how aggressive some meat eaters are in comparison to the mannerisms and temperament of vegetarians? Vegetarians are not all passive as they can be very sensitive people, but the real difference for their aggressiveness is in the motive for their aggression. A meat eater can be found to be more carnivorous and instinctively aggressive in their reaction to things where a vegetarian tends to be more passive in thinking and feeling before actually reacting. BALANCE is a lifetime struggle because deeper than our forms of both our bodies and our expression, we are living chemical factories. Yes, we are chemistry! Everything we eat, drink, and note: even think, is a chemical compound. Therefore a study of lifestyles is a real study of ‘what’ we have become.
Let us analyze this word ‘STYLE’: (Noun) “A manner of doing something; A way of painting, writing, composing, building, etc., characteristic of a particular period, place, person, or movement.” (lexico dot com powered by Oxford).
Have you ever taken time to analyze the MANNER of your expression in both what you wear, what you say and how you interact with others? This is critical for all of us as we improve our relationships. We should be very aware of the mannerisms of the people we interact with. They become an essential part of our lifestyle. That’s why we are so severely questioned when a misfortune befalls someone very close to us because there is generally circumstantial evidence that ties us to that person that could, in an investigation, make us an accomplice. Yes, be very careful, especially nowadays, of who you spend time with or hang out with, even if they’re family members. Take tulips for an example in botany: there is a term for certain flowers in a close proximity called ‘cross-pollination’. Cross-pollination generally makes all those flowers in a row develop the same color and certain characteristics. For human beings, cross-pollination is observed in the degree to which those persons you spend time with influence your manners, your speech patterns, and yes, your overall lifestyle. It takes great strength and the power of our WILL to be our own unique self. In the very moment that we are courageous enough to, as my father, the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, would put it, “accept our own and be ourselves”, we will discover the God in self.
The Holy Qur’an says in Surah 112, The Unity:
“In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.”
1: “Say: He, Allah, is One.”
2: “Allah is He on Whom all depend.”
3: “He begets not, nor is He begotten;”
4: “And none is like Him.”
Although the above verses speak to the identity of God, it is also scientifically the identity of every human being. Even though we may have been born with a twin, there is no such thing as two identicals in Creation. There are always variables and characteristics of uniqueness that bear witness to the very presence of the One God in everything! Therefore, ALLAH (God) is the mastermind and designer that even when endowed with the characteristic of “free will” to obey God and follow the examples of His Prophets and Messengers, it is Their lifestyle that leads to success! I close with the words of a Jewish Director at one of the three Universities of ‘Peace’, one of which we visited approximately fifteen years ago while traveling with my mother, Tynnetta Muhammad, in the country of Costa Rica (Central America), shared with us that “the study of the Prophets and Messengers of God is not so much a study of what they said, but it is a study of how they lived”. Let us apply this principle in everything we study and get excited about when preaching (smile)... Let it not be what we preach alone, but instead practiced in our lifestyles. 😇