For millions of people the month of Ramadan, 4th October until 2nd November, marks an annual spiritual event that impressively embraces the entire Muslim family. For the others, it is a time to respect each other's beliefs and take benefit from the deeper meaning behind what each faith and celebration teaches us.
The word ‘Saum’ in Arabic literally means to abstain. In fact every faith advocates a period of fasting in order to attain physical and spiritual purity, representing a cleansing of the soul. Fasting from food, alcohol, *** activity and smoking will purify the body. Fasting from a diet of thoughts that are waste, negative, indecent and impure will purify the soul.
During the fast, it is important to give attention to ‘Niyyah', which means intention in Arabic. The intention behind any deed should be positive, for the intention is as important as the act. To check intention implies checking one's heart. Is my heart pure and clean enough to fill with the presence of the Divine? When I am generous and kind is there a subtle expectation of a return, of recognition, that will dilute this good deed, this seed?
These quiet times of peace and harmony allow us to reflect on the general quality of our lives: Am I truly living my purpose and meaning? It is an auspicious and appropriate time to check my compass and confirm my own direction. But more importantly, it is a time to celebrate the journey and our family, those with whom we are traveling. Without periods of ‘fasting’ we would not truly be able to strengthen the mind and body or take a breath to appreciate all that we are surrounded by.
Fasting is not a penance, but a tried and proven way of teaching us that nothing in life comes easily but that with effort and sacrifice we can become masters of ourselves and, in so doing, become humble servants of God.
Whether religious or not, everyone can certainly benefit from fasting. One day a week will definitely give the organs of the body a rest for a while while, at the same time, giving us more energy to do the things we really want to be doing. From a spiritual perspective, if we are to bring heaven on Earth, each one of us should observe the fast of negative thoughts EVERY DAY.
(I am a peaceful soul)
Aruna is an international management development trainer, a teacher of meditation and a freelance writer currently based in Bahrain. She is also the director of the Bahrain Meditation Centre, which is administered by Brahma Kumaris, London, an international organisation with over 6000 centers in over 85 countries (http://www.bkwsu.org.uk ) and she continues to coordinate various activities for them in the Middle East.
Aruna has spent the last 22 years focused on learning, living and teaching the art of self-development. As a lecturer and teacher of meditation she gained a wealth of experience working with the Brahma Kumaris, teaching meditation, values and ethics, positive thinking and creativity seminars.
Moving her base from London to Canada in the mid-90’s she turned her focus to the area of Conflict Resolution and began to arrange and conduct seminars on self-development subjects.
She brings together the three key strands of the new millennium –spirituality, management/leadership development, and continuous learning – in a unique blend of insight, wisdom and technique.
Tel: +973-17-712 545, email@example.com. bh, www.bahrainmeditationcentre.org