Ramadan is here, a month during which 1.6 billion Muslims around the globe fast from sunrise until sunset for 30 days. An introspection through this practice.
The first thing that comes to our mind when we think of Ramadan is the spiritual enlightenment and the cultural festivities of this month that make this holy month so conspicuous. The faith-reviving prayers, the heart-touching recitations that move our souls and makes us want to listen to more, and the family gathering that evokes the spirit of brotherhood all come together to grant us peace of mind, body, and soul. Ramadan besides being a religious festival brings with it innumerable other benefits that rejuvenate our minds and soul, instilling a feeling of eternal bliss. Is this not what we call meditation?
Fasting is a meditation for the body
Meditation is supposed to calm and soothe your senses and body and as we fast in the month of Ramadan which commences from the first light of dawn till after sunset. How can we say that “fasting is meditation for the body”? Just like meditation requires us to vacate the mind of disturbing or bickering thoughts, fasting entails emptying the body of food for a prescribed period of time and experience a whole new approach to life by practicing self-control. Learning to control your inner instincts shows how food can be a good camouflage for your feelings.
Effect of fasting on the level of the mind and thought processes
The mind is a very complicated organ to begin with and can be trained quite methodically to observe a set routine. Wouldn’t it be cool if you had more control over your mind than it had over you? Attempts to concentrate on your thought processes become a lot more fruitful when you are observing a fast. It is like virtual meditation paired with literal meditation. Your mind tends to settle down much faster with an empty stomach than with a filled one.
Fasting serves as a gateway to serene thoughts; you learn to appreciate the little things in life and live in the moment. Learning to empathize and sympathize with people develops a sense of generosity and open-heartedness. Your train of thoughts is at a low ebb and you tend to pay closer attention to the internal and external world with increased clarity of thought and attention to detail. Your mind is in a state of spirituality where mental noise and commotion is at a minimum.
Cleanses and purifies the body from deep within
Just like we make a conscious effort to stay fit and detoxify ourselves by incorporating daily physical exercise and taking in a well-balanced diet, similarly fasting facilitates this process and purifies the soul.
Fasting provides us with an opportunity to refresh our spiritual link with our physical bodies. Since the intake of food is drastically reduced, fewer toxins enter our body. Our spirits go on an effective and relieving detox and our bodies do not have to undergo the exhaustive process of digestion.
Abstinence from pleasure along with food and drink
Why does fasting command us to curb our desires and not give in to temptations? Basically, you are training your mind to exercise self-control and have the nerve to establish pious habits while you are observing fast. Fasting corrects us of undesirable actions and teaches to take control of our inner desires and pangs of hunger and not be carried away. We are so engrossed in our worldly lives that we have become so materialistic that we tend to forget the spiritual connection with our body.
Since, during fasting we are not consumed worrying about having our next meal and we realize the real purpose of our existence, more energy is available to devote to God. We connect with our Lord on a different level and get a deep sense of realization that our sole dependence is on our Creator. This inner feeling purifies us of any ill thoughts and helps us become a better human being. When you are at peace with yourself and within yourself you are sure to transform your life.
Fasting is a form of experiential training whereby we are made to learn life lessons in a subtle way. The purity of intentions with your whole heart guarantees piety.
By Zyana Morris