Every day, we are faced with hundreds of choices about what to do. Choices like:
What to eat and not eat
What to give and what to take
What to say and what to hold back
Most choices we encounter are simple, and we decide without much thought. But there are some that create a dilemma because the stakes are high, the situation is grey and we want to make the right decision.
It could be a conflict situation with a loved one or making a big life-changing decision.
When I would face such choices I would ask myself “What’s the right thing to do?”
My experience has shown that asking this question in difficult situations is not helpful.
For example, if I’m in a conflict with someone that has many grey areas, it’s not useful for me to ask “Am I doing the right thing?” because what is “right” is subjective.
Instead, a more useful question to ask is, “Is my action coming from sincerity?” Another way to frame this question: “Am I acting in integrity with my values?“
This question is useful because it shifts my attention from trying to control something external and brings my awareness to the intention of my action.
If it’s clear to me that my action is coming from integrity then I can worry less about the outcome. I can surrender to what happens. I accept I cannot control the outcome.
I can be happy that I acted from sincerity, and that is the best action.
The Prophet (SAW) said, ‘Allah, most High, has receptacles on the earth, and verily they are the hearts. The most beloved of hearts to Allah are the softest ones, the purest ones, and the firmest ones: those that are the softest to their brothers, those that are the most pure from sins, and those that are the firmest [at containing] the essence of Allah.’
They asked ‘Isa (‘a), ‘With whom shall we sit, O Spirit of Allah?’ ‘With one the sight of whom reminds you of Allah,’ he replied, ‘and whose speech increases you in knowledge, and whose actions make you desire the next world.’