While this is a bit late, I actually didn’t have time to reflect much right when Ramadan ended, as I got way to busy. As some of you will know., on the last of September the holy month of Ramadan was declared over and the festivity Eid-al-Fitr began.
For me, I had decided to fast the month of ramadan in order to try and experience a little bit of what it might be like. I managed a little more than 3 weeks of fasting, so not the full month, and at the end of it I realized my workload was so heavy that I had to have full energy for that.
From this month I had a couple of observations that I would like to share with you.
First of all – the power of shared experience is intense. In Brussels there is a fairly large Muslim population, and every time I would pass a Muslim family it would occur to my mind that I was sharing this experience with them. It was probably the first time for me that I felt this feeling of community.
Secondly, we are constantly overcrowded with impressions. The fast is a very effective, if rather brutal, way of removing stimulus. The lack of energy and the inward focus that the fast creates allows you to clear away a lot of the impressions and stimulus.
Finally, our life style is on a serious disconnect with the natural rhythm. For a relatively “normal” person like myself, I put my body through a seriously unnatural way of life. I eat more energy than I need to, because there is such abundance around me. The timings in my life are connected to the hours at my work, not to the way the world is constructed. I load my body with foreign substances that is really only good for it in small quantities or not at all. By watching the sunrise every day, removing caffeine, sugars and alcohol from my diet, I could literally feel how my body (and mind) was more connected to its natural state.
In retrospect, I think it physically effected me in a way I didn’t like – I got intolerant, argued unnessecarily with people around me and wasn’t able to perform as well in my responsibilities. However, the reflections that you can get from such an experience were interesting and worth it. Would I do it again? Probably, and that time I would know more what to expect.
Picture by Muhammad.