Observing a Mental Fast During Ramadan
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Reading and talking about Oneness of God is one thing,
But to enliven it is another matter all together.
There are many for whom Oneness is just a spiritual theorization,
For the friends it is Seeing the Friend’s Face in every direction.
O Beloved One, help us walk in your friends’ footsteps,
For towards them flow Your tender love, mercy and grace.
~ A Dervish Prayer
The secret of religion is Law (rights). The secret of Law is conscience. And the secret of conscience is love.
The holy month of Ramadan was an opportunity for millions around the world to cleanse, detox or purify oneself. As well as become conscience of our place in the fabric of life. During the fast I chose to abstain from solid foods altogether and opted to break fast with only juice, water and sometimes herbal teas. For me this special month was a time of rejuvenating my spirit and purging my attachments to a past that will be of no benefit to my successful future. It was a time of rekindling a lost desire for self-love, which ultimately allows me to unconditionally accept others and most importantly brings me closer to the divine.
After a long night of Zikr I sat in silence and realized all the challenges that arise from the mind and pondered whether I could actually obtain spiritual growth while maintaining the same patterns and rhythms that fuels the world’s hate. I realized that while denying my physical self the indulgence of food so as to obtain a higher level of consciousness that I had failed to implement one important change.
Engaging my mind in a mental detox or ‘mental fast’. What’s the use of seeking purity if at the end of the fast period we go back to engaging in negative thinking, gossip and verbal destruction?
The last seven days of Ramadan I decided to partake in a ‘mental fast,’ which is one of the most important tasks by Sufi alchemists in one’s search for inner transformation. As soon as I made the decision many obstacles occurred and presented me with a host of fears and negativity that I had never realized were prohibiting me from reaching the next station in my growth. I like to call these moments, the storm. The storm happens to shake up one’s very existence as a test of faith, perseverance, flexibility and to determine whether one’s foundation is intact.
Everything has its cyclical nature. Tsunamis, earthquakes, tornadoes and storms are the earth’s revolutions. The people’s storm, like that of the revolts raging across the Arab world, is also nature’s storm because that’s where our true roots lie. - Simba
Tai Chi Chuan, which literally translates to Tai - supreme, Chi - ultimate, Chuan - boxing is an ancient Chinese form of internal alchemy that represents an expression of living life to it’s fullest, bending like a bamboo in the face of even the strongest winds, while continuing to grow supple and strong.
I’ve no doubt have my bouts with the earth’s most strongest winds. Our relationship is like a child and their parent. Sometimes the gentle, subtle winds come as a comfort but during the daily rigorous regime I leave full of fatigue. As the seven day mental test continued I meditated on the meaning of the chapter I just finished in the book, ‘The Mysticism of Sound and Music’ by Sufi Mystic Hazrat Inayat Khan where he describes the rhythm of life and how the minds’ motions give way to either joy or illness.
Confronting truth and reality has made this month truly a holy one in that I was able to realize how powerful our thoughts and words are towards others and our own destruction. During prayer I uttered the words of my spiritual guide Cheikh Ahmadou Bamba, ‘For all those who have sought to destroy me, I wish that no harm comes to them on my behalf.’ I hope that I start this New Year with a new spiritual lens that allows me to view the world from a new level of purity. I hope that future mental fasts instill upon me even greater truths and that the I learn to embrace even the strongest of winds because in the end everything comes from Allah. By embracing this fact I moved one step closer to freeing a mind that had been enslaved to world full of sheep.
Eid Mubarak to all!
Your dance just took me today, and suddenly I began to whirl. All the realms spun around me in endless celebration. My soul lost its grip. My body shed its fatigue. Hearing Your drum beat and Your hands clap, I floated up to the heavens.” - Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi