March 29, 2018 Mastery: Perfecting Our Submission to God Alone

Mastery. Greene, Robert. Penguin Publishing Group.

“In order to master a field, you must love the subject and feel a profound connection to it. Your interest must transcend the field itself and border on the religious. “ 

[6:161] Say, "My Lord has guided me in a straight path—the perfect religion of Abraham, monotheism. He never was an idol worshiper." [6:162] Say, "My Contact Prayers (Salat), my worship practices, my life and my death, are all devoted absolutely to GOD alone, the Lord of the universe. [6:163] "He has no partner. This is what I am commanded to believe, and I am the first to submit." 

[2:165] …Those who believe love GOD the most.

“A false path in life is generally something we are attracted to for the wrong reasons—money, fame, attention, and so on. If it is attention we need, we often experience a kind of emptiness inside that we are hoping to fill with the false love of public approval. “  

[76:8] They donate their favorite food to the poor, the orphan, and the captive. [76:9] "We feed you for the sake of GOD; we expect no reward from you, nor thanks. [76:10] "We fear from our Lord a day that is full of misery and trouble."

We don’t change because of what we know we change because we care 

[13:11] Shifts (of angels) take turns, staying with each one of you—they are in front of you and behind you. They stay with you, and guard you in accordance with GOD's commands. Thus, GOD does not change the condition of any people unless they themselves make the decision to change. If GOD wills any hardship for any people, no force can stop it. For they have none beside Him as Lord and Master. 

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (85 years old – making sushi for over 60 years) 

“We don’t care about money, All I want to do is make better sushi. I do the same thing over and over improving bit by bit. There is always a yearning to achieve more. I’ll continue to climb, trying to reach the top, but no one knows where the top is.“ - Jiro

In an interview with one of Jiro’s apprentices he said that it took him 10 years before they would allow him to cook the eggs for egg sushi. Even then every time he tried it was rejected. It took him 200 tries before Jiro accepted it and he said when that happened he almost cried, but he kept it to himself because he didn’t want to show his excitement. 

You can be completely dedicated to something yet always be doing whatever you are in the cause of God. The two are one in the same. They do not need to be mutually exclusive.

Someone asking if they should be a doctor because they were concerned that it would distract them from worshipping God. 

“Just as a well-filled day brings blessed sleep, so a well-employed life brings a blessed death.” - Leonardo da Vinci

Importance of repetition 

Commencement speech from US Navy Admiral William McRaven,

If You Want to Change the World, Start Off by Making Your Bed 

No broken window policy 

Today we want everything new – we want novelty – constant stimulation 

This is what makes apps like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat so popular

The world is full of information, but what we really need is wisdom 

Wisdom is the condensed down optimal use of information 

And wisdom comes through Mastery 

What is the difference between a chess grandmaster and an intermediate chess player, is that the intermediate player will consider more moves, but the grandmaster while looking at fewer moves will look at only the best ones 

So much of the religion is repetition

5 times a day we perform our Contact Prayers 

[70:34] They consistently observe their contact prayers (Salat), on time.

We recite the same things every time

17 times a day we recite the Al-Fãtehah

[14:40] "My Lord, make me one who consistently observes the Contact Prayers (Salat), and also my children. Our Lord, please answer my prayers.

Before we eat we mention God’s name or when we wake up in the morning we say:

Bismillah AlRahman AlRaheem (In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful) 

Every time we get income we give to Zakat

Remembering God Every Chance We Get

[18:23] You shall not say that you will do anything in the future, [18:24] without saying, "GOD willing."* If you forget to do this, you must immediately remember your Lord and say, "May my Lord guide me to do better next time." 

Each night before going to bed we read Quran and at Dawn we recite Quran 

Even the Quran is repetitive 

The number one feedback I hear from people who are new to Quran is that it is repetitive 

They say: “I get it God is Most Gracious, Most Merciful”

But do they really understand? 

It can take a lifetime to even get a small understanding of what this truly means. 

Just because you read it once, does not mean that you understand it 

Knowing vs. Understanding 

Example of changing the orientation of a bike such that left turns right and vice-versa 

The Backwards Brain Bicycle - Smarter Every Day 133

It took him weeks to understand the new way of riding the bike, and despite this when he would challenge people they overestimated their abilities 

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude; without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual competence or incompetence. 


[17:79] During the night, you shall meditate for extra credit, that your Lord may raise you to an honorable rank. [17:80] And say, "My Lord, admit me an honorable admittance, and let me depart an honorable departure, and grant me from You a powerful support." [17:81] Proclaim, "The truth has prevailed, and falsehood has vanished; falsehood will inevitably vanish." 

[50:40] During the night you shall meditate on His name, and after prostrating

Meditation –

144 basketball players split into two groups

1 group practice shooting with one-handed free throws for two weeks

The other group only mentally practiced one-handed free throws for two weeks

At the end of the experiment intermediate and expert players improved by the same amount 

[14:7] Your Lord has decreed: "The more you thank Me, the more I give you." But if you turn unappreciative, then My retribution is severe.

Molecules of Emotion - Candace Pert

When we feel emotions peptides are released through our body

Each cell has receptors for these peptides

When our cells replicate they will form more receptors targeted towards whatever emotions we were feeling more of. 

So if you are happy, your body will find more reasons to find happiness in this world and if you are sad your body will find more reasons to find sadness in this world. 

[22:28] They may seek commercial benefits, and they shall commemorate GOD's name during the specified days for providing them with livestock. "Eat therefrom and feed the despondent and the poor."

Axons & Myelin

Also, when we reinforce a thought we are strengthening the connections in our mind towards that thought.

Our brains are made of axons that carry electrical impulses

These axons are covered with myelin

Myelin serves as an insulator for our axons

When we have a thought certain axons are activated and the more we reinforce this thought the more myelin will insulate these axons reinforcing that thought

How to practice effectively...for just about anything - Annie Bosler and Don Greene

[19:75] Say, "Those who choose to go astray, the Most Gracious will lead them on, until they see what is promised for them—either the retribution or the Hour. That is when they find out who really is worse off, and weaker in power." [19:76] GOD augments the guidance of those who choose to be guided. For the good deeds are eternally rewarded by your Lord, and bring far better returns.

This is the reason why what we do everyday more important than what we do every once in a while

Making belief second nature

Don’t think just do

Some people think it is hard to take action, instead I will wait until I have the motivation then I will take action

But more often than not the opposite is true 

First, take action and then your brain will find the motivation to continue

Want to get to a point where God and belief is so ingrained in our day to day that when something happens our natural response is that of a believer. 

We think that because we “know” how to act that we will under the circumstances, but just like the person “thinks” they can ride a reversed bike we will be mistaken.

[3:155] Surely, those among you who turned back the day the two armies clashed have been duped by the devil. This reflects some of the (evil) works they had committed. GOD has pardoned them. GOD is Forgiver, Clement. 

That is why we need the constant reinforcement and practice…

Humans want novelty, they want new, but what God wants to teach us is repetition

The human being is forgetful

[6:68] If you see those who mock our revelations, you shall avoid them until they delve into another subject. If the devil causes you to forget, then, as soon as you remember, do not sit with such evil people. [6:69] The righteous are not responsible for the utterances of those people, but it may help to remind them; perhaps they may be saved. 

Same thing with Joseph in 12:42 – said that the devil made him forget his Lord.

[38:45] Remember also our servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. They were resourceful, and possessed vision. [38:46] We bestowed upon them a great blessing: awareness of the Hereafter

One day we will meet our Creator and we will be held responsible for how we used this life and the only thing will matter will be the good deeds we did in this life

[7:51] Those who do not take their religion seriously, and are totally preoccupied with this worldly life, we forget them on that day, because they forgot that day, and because they spurned our revelations. 

[32:14] Taste the consequences of your forgetting this day; now we forget you. You have incurred eternal retribution in return for your own works. 

[39:8] When the human being is afflicted, he implores his Lord, sincerely devoted to Him. But as soon as He blesses him, he forgets his previous imploring, sets up idols to rank with GOD and to divert others from His path. Say, "Enjoy your disbelief temporarily; you have incurred the hellfire." [39:9] Is it not better to be one of those who meditate in the night, prostrating and staying up, being aware of the Hereafter, and seeking the mercy of their Lord? Say, "Are those who know equal to those who do not know?" Only those who possess intelligence will take heed. 

Constantly Remember God

[2:152] You shall remember Me, that I may remember you, and be thankful to Me; do not be unappreciative.

[2:63 & 7:171] …"You shall uphold what we have given you strongly, and remember its contents, that you may be saved."

[7:69] … Remember GOD's blessings, that you may succeed."

[62:10] Once the prayer is completed, you may spread through the land to seek GOD's bounties, and continue to remember GOD frequently, that you may succeed.

[20:14] "I am GOD; there is no other god beside Me. You shall worship Me alone, and observe the Contact Prayers (Salat) to remember Me. 

Whatever we spend thinking about most the day becomes our god.


“We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.” T.S. Elliot   

Moses and the magicians 


These people have made the decisions all their life such that at the moment there was no thinking just reacting 


How To Be A Hero - Radiolab


Man Is Rescued by Stranger on Subway Tracks


New York Subway Hero – Wesley Autrey (CBSNews)


[2:286] GOD never burdens a soul beyond its means: to its credit is what it earns, and against it is what it commits. "Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or make mistakes. Our Lord, and protect us from blaspheming against You, like those before us have done. Our Lord, protect us from sinning until it becomes too late for us to repent. Pardon us and forgive us. You are our Lord and Master. Grant us victory over the disbelieving people."