Deepening my Spiritual Practice through Ramadan as Non-Muslim

Photo by Ahmed Aqtai from Pexels
Last update 06/01/2021

I am neither imposing any truth nor forcing a certain belief on this post. I may not agree with certain beliefs but it doesn’t mean I dismiss any established practices or anybody’s ideologies. This is my own pursuit to spirituality that is beyond myself and I invite you to do the same.

Introduction

There are many means pointing to the truth, the source.

As I’m deepening my life journey by going within- that is to practice mindfulness, I am up to trying different established practices and traditions as well.

I was never really a part of any religion or group that follows certain spiritual practices. Or I was, only to obey my elders. I tried but it just never worked for me. I believe that nobody can make you absorb a belief or system when it doesn’t meet your unique preferences and most especially when you didn’t inquire yourself.

There was a time I dismissed the idea of God. If what they teach in religions were true, how come I rarely saw the people following a certain religion applying what they learned outside their place of worship?

In a state of confusion and disbelief, I became a follower of something I never really understood. I wanted to be accepted by my society so I followed the herd.

Over the years, I never really had a profound knowing of things. That caused my suffering. And that suffering led me to finally seek some salvation on my own.

Spirituality goes beyond any established practices.

If you have been with me all this time, you probably already know that I speak of love and light. What does it really mean for me? I equate those words to God. God to me is formless hence it is limitless. That’s all.

The rest are just practices and means to get to it– to the source, to God, to Universe, Paramatman, to the singularity, the seed, the life that started all this, whatever you really want to call it.

So the practice I find to be the most suitable and simplest for me is practicing sitting-meditation. My only problem is I can’t do it consistently because I’m not good at forming habits.

So, I’ve been waiting for today (04/13/2021), the first day of Ramadan.

If you don’t know yet, and you’re a non-Muslim like me, Ramadan is a certain month in a year when Muslims fast, abstain from many stimulating things, and reflect on their ways and actions. A mindfulness technique that’s already taught and applied in Zen teachings.

When I learned about this, I knew I had to try it out for many good reasons that will benefit me:

A month of fasting and following the prayer schedule will help me form a habit.

Although, fasting, according to my Muslim friends, is also about feeling the hunger and pain of those who are unfortunate to have normal meals. I’m not really new to fasting but I want to try doing it without water like many of my Muslim friends do. I’m very happy to do this with them and they are also the reason I can maybe try to pull it off.

I will follow the prayer schedule as my meditation time. At the moment, I don’t really have a system on when I do it so this holy month will help me form one.

Resetting my bio clock to work in the morning and not at night.

The prayers throughout the month of Ramadan is set to five times a day. As mentioned, I will make this time as my sitting-meditation time. Since the prayers are going to be around 0400 in the morning to 0700 in the evening, I am hoping it will reset my disorganized sleeping time. I want to have energy and be connected to my meditation at these times after all.

Maybe, I’ll discover some wisdom that I haven’t realized yet.

Islam means to submit to God. If you have been following my writings, you would know that I talk about myself surrendering to the unknown. In other words, I let things flow, accept the world as it is, and enjoy what it is giving me- good or bad. I have made peace with both, at least in most times.

رمضان المبارك Ramadan Mubarak! A Blessed Ramadan!

I will leave this post thread open and keep it updated until Ramadan is over. I want to document my spiritual pursuit and share it with you.

First day, April 13, 2021

It was already 1200 AM of April 13, 2021, when my Muslim friend reminded me that today was the first day of fasting. I only have 4 more hours before السحور Al-SaHoor, the meal before fasting begins. I’ve been looking forward to this day but I didn’t know it was today! So, yes, I overslept and missed my SaHoor.

Afraid to go crazy, at 0500 AM, I had my only one and a half glass of water to sustain me the whole day. I did my early sitting-meditation for 30 minutes that I sometimes confuse with napping. I know, what a great start!

We’re not hard on ourselves, right? And we only get better. That’s what I thought too! So, I missed the other three prayers set in daytime because I couldn’t fight my sleepiness.

Moving forward, I broke my fast on schedule with الإفطار Al- IfTar, or the first meal after fasting. by having my first sip of water and a normal plant- based meal. I’m not new to fasting so I didn’t devour my food like a hungry beast. But, the discipline by following the schedule and not cheating by snacking made my experience with the food more savoring. Thank God for the meal, indeed!

After IfTar is the last prayer for the day so I did my sitting-meditation. At least, I made it two times on the first day! But then again, sitting-meditation is just a certain moment when you just do nothing and connect back to the silence- peace, love, God. Meditation is beyond that and should be applied throughout your day, through how you speak, what you think, and how you act. That’s what Ramadan is for as well. Different names but same concept.

I will do my best to follow the schedule on the next days to come. This, after all, is for a greater purpose.

End of the second week (Last update)

I’m honestly updating this on May 25, 2021 which is almost 2 weeks after Eid. I got caught up with some new work that I never really planned nor anticipated. So I imagined to be meditating religiously 5 times a day but I was overwhelmed with the new stuff I was working on then.

The first week of Ramadan was hard without water. I could survive without food during the daytime since I’m not new to fasting but the abstinence from water was a whole new experience. To be honest, most of my Muslim friends told me it’s fine to have a sip of water. They don’t think fasting without replenishing your body with water is healthy. If it’ll just cause more problems then I agree with them.

The funniest thing that had happened to me was when I ate food forgetting I was fasting. I was on a call and I was cooking pretty early for my Iftar. I was chatting happily when I realized I already snacked on some mushrooms. Is that considered cheating from fasting? If it was, I didn’t know!

Third and fourth week

I was hoping to write more about my experience in fasting but it was just pretty normal! I am not new to fasting as I have said. I broke my fasting in the middle of the third week because I started my menstrual cycle. I always feel sick when this happens so I started to drink water. I had my food in the afternoon. I got used to the eating schedule on the first and second week.

The best thing about this whole experience is that I’m able to sleep at night again and I was able to control my overeating habits!

Note: Muslim women on their menstrual cycle, people with sickness and kids don’t need to fast during Ramadan. I heard though from many Muslim friends that they started fasting as a kid as their own choice.

Did my spiritual practice deepen during Ramadan?

I think spirituality is living in the moment, being grateful to the every second of every breath you breathe, and always having compassion to everything. You can say, it’s all the same for me except that I’m more in tune to life’s flow- lesser resistance, more acceptance.

Spiritual practice to me is to inquire what life is all about, and to apply these teachings in our lives. The awareness we always put in the course of our interaction with people, our actions, our coexistence with nature itself and the respect we give to life’s natural flow are what I define as spiritual practices.

Will I be fasting again in Ramadan?

Definitely! I hope I get to experience real Iftar and Eid Al Fitr though! I heard they are feasts!

Last update 06/01/2021

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5 thoughts on “Deepening my Spiritual Practice through Ramadan as Non-Muslim

  1. Marwan Pablo says:

    Ramadan Kareem my friend. I hope you enjoy this journey, and I think you will. And yeah “Different names but same concept.” God with you XD.

    • The Only Charm says:

      Thanks Marwan! 🙂 It’s the third day today and I just had my IfTar. I hope you’re having a good one!

  2. busraa says:

    ahhh i am also forced to wake up for sahoor cuz i work weekdays and i usually missed it anddd finally weekend and my first day of fast:) i think we will charmiee 🌙

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