There is a magical calmness that descends half an hour before the break of fast at sunset. What a wonderful relationship to the sun and moon; our physical existence organized with these galactic elements and we honor our humble existence in the largeness of this whole universe.
Diana Younes - Intuitive Art Therapist
Fasting the Ego
When I first heard of Vipassana 10 days meditation program, I thought at the time, how crazy; I do not think I can do that. I did the program three times now. Same thing with fasting. I never thought I could finish 28 or 29 days of Ramadan fasting. Last year was my first time and it was, oh, so wonderful. Fasting with a mindful attitude can bring about massive change. I want to share with you the mysteries revealed to me through this spiritual practice.
Fasting is a ritual or a prerequisite to ritual in many spiritual paths. There are numerous health benefits and scientists today acknowledge the soundness of these ancient teachings. Secular fasts may bring about similar results to spiritually guided fasts in terms of physical well-being but from my experience with both, I believe the latter uniquely involves consciousness expansion.
A spiritual fast involves making the intention to fast for spiritual aims and the maintenance of a connection with the Divine through prayer and reflection. A mindful spiritual fast is an advanced commitment to hold moment-to-moment, awareness in the process so we observe the comings and goings of desire, the flow of ease and difficulty, the movement of our monkey mind, the changing relationship to nourishment, the attitude shifts during the day and the temporality of all there is (except the Divine Creator of All).
To give our digestion system a break redirects energy. What we do with this energy is key. The conscious intent of the fast combined with praying for divine light opens up new channels of experience. Perhaps this translates to “simply” experiencing, for example, a new intensity to the smell of a rose, or, to feel the harmonious flow of life; where everything you need is right around you; connecting with your outer experiences; the wind, sounds and auspicious serendipities. Heaven on earth; to be overwhelmingly drunk on God’s most nourishing grace.
Obviously, the mind has to quiet down significantly to become aware of this level of experience. Fasting helps quiet the mind, but it is the overall system of practices in the spiritual path can provide such magic. It is the daily application of Zikr, Murakaba, and Muhasaba that sustain the practice of self-observation and sharpens one’s awareness of their state. It is a submission in daily regular prayer throughout the year; prostrating facedown to the greatness of the Creator; that clears energetic blockages and enables us to handle increasing light and divine downloads. It is the giving to others, especially the needy and those who come and ask you, specifically you, for help. It is in the spiritual pilgrimage where your body and mind train to withstand trials and tribulations.
Those practices all pave the way for a good life; a life with peace, healing, and fulfillment. Along with the unwavering belief in the Oneness of God and the sanctity of his prophets, angels, books, the day of resurrection, and destiny, do the five pillars of Islam (shahada,prayer, almsgiving, fasting, pilgrimage). Modalities that discipline the Ego and return us to the Creator.
Did you think you can have it all while allowing your ego to be your God?
It is especially true today, with all the misinformation and ignorance about religion that we ought to do our own research. Do not stop there though. The jump to accepting faith is the ultimate stab at your ego; this personality that thinks so highly of itself that it just won’t call it what it is. Observe any resistance you have against religion and stay in this honesty. After all that you realized; all the messages you received; after all this guidance; after all that you witnessed, is this resistance justifiable? Gently, gently let go... What is the truth of your heart? Start by letting go so you let in. Clear your mind, reach your heart and say:
I ATTEST THAT THERE IS NO gOD BUT GOD AND THAT ALL GOD’S PROPHETS, MUHAMMAD BEING THE LAST ONE, ARE GOD’S SERVANTS AND PROPHETS
The truth is easy and sets in gently in the lake of the heart with ripples widening into all aspects of your life.
The soft embrace of the gentle souls that have walked this road surrounds you.
The seeds for Ramadan are planted in this holy month of Rajab.
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