After standing post recently, I reached out and gave my student first officer a “virtual fist bump.” We both worked out that morning in my short virtual fitness class and then reported for duty. Earlier that morning, I reminded the sisters of how working out prepares your body, disciplines your mind, and sets the tone for the rest of the day and week.
Of course, I may not have initially “felt” like working out. However, once you get started and have the right encouragement, it can change your mindset. Since we worked out that morning, we had already set the tone for the day to “hear and obey.” We were ready to soldier; the “military mindset” was in full effect.
This is one of the reasons why I appreciate the military structure of the Nation of Islam. Not only are we taught to think like a soldier, but dress like one too. I have always admired the military look of the soldiers in the Nation of Islam. The brothers have a sharp clean-cut look with freshly pressed suits and the sisters have an exquisitely lovely look in our garments. A submitting and faithful woman is beautiful.
Years ago in Ohio, a few of the sisters and I were outside planting flowers when a man passed by the mosque and asked if we were with the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. We said, “Yes.” He then asked if we followed “How to Eat to Live.” We said, “Yes.” I then heard him mumble, “You don’t look like it.”
I was shocked and hurt. Granted, a few of us could lose a few pounds, me included. But that comment stood out to me years later and is one reason why I continue to train. I want to practice “how to eat to live” and look like I practice it. In our Lessons, it states, “But do not let me catch any sister other than herself in regards to living the Life and weighing properly.”
If we are living the life we are not overburdened by sin and stress which can also lead to overeating etc. This is the main reason why it is important to practice “eating to live” and develop the military mindset to do what needs to be done. Eating to live will also enable us to be healthier and free of diseases such as diabetes.
In his lecture titled “God’s Healing Power,” the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan said, “To be ‘overweight’ is to carry a burden that we were not made to carry. Our frames were not made to carry the swill (garbage) that we put in it and on it. Nor was our minds made to carry the burden that comes from sin.” (Final Call Newspaper, Vol. 10, No. 16, August 15, 1991).
My father and brother were in the army for several years, so I was accustomed to their “just do it” mindset. I always have admired my father’s ability to work and train; he made no excuses.
Other qualities and characteristics that are a result of developing a “military mindset” include:
increased resiliency, being a master problem solver and a service to others. My brother said he learned to value duty, honor, and respect. He said during boot camp, they would stretch in the morning, work out their upper body and then run 2-5 miles before breakfast. Whether you were motivated to exercise that day or not, you did it. You developed the habit of following through. In this day and time, we must ask ourselves if we have developed the “military mindset” to put into practice this powerful habit—exercise.
However, the army of our former slave master does not compare to the army of God that the Nation of Islam is developing. Ours represents a new way of life.
In “Our Saviour has Arrived,” the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad said Master Fard Muhammad told Him that “He Causes us to Grow into a New Growth. And that we would have the look and energy of one who is sixteen (16) years of age and our youth and energy of a sixteen-year-old would last forever.” (p. 114).
I don’t know how many of us will be around to experience that “new life and new growth.” However, I am going to strive hard to be in better shape while I live, so I can look and feel younger, but most importantly, be healthier.
May Allah (God) bless us all with peace, health, wealth, love, and happiness.
Dr. Audrey Muhammad is an educator, aerobics instructor, and author of “Get Fit to Live: Be Your Best You!” Contact her at [email protected]. Please consult a physician before beginning any new exercise or dietary program.