This morning I was reading an article on Ramadan. Ramadan started on 15 May 2018. Interestingly Christians observed Pentecost or Whit Sunday (Monday) on 20-21 May finishing the 50 day observation period since Easter, and Jews celebrated a week of Passover more or less at the same time.
Both events are about connecting to Spirit of God on a deeper level. Pentecost focuses on receiving the wisdom and enlightenment of the Spirit and the start of the ministry of the Apostles. Whereas during Passover or Pesach Jews celebrate a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses.
Reading the article below, I realized that we are all at a cross road this time of year. It is time to rejuvenate. Spring breeze brings new beginnings and asks us during these times of spiritual observation and reflection to choose a new way of being.
During these lengthy times of Pentecost, Passover, Ramadan (I am sure there are more similar celebrations that I am not aware of) we are offered a chance to contemplate on which direction we are going to move forward. Will I continue living in my comfort zone, no matter how painful it maybe or let go and step into the unknown?
I am perfectly aware that it is not as easy as it sounds. It is worth a try, nevertheless. I strongly believe that these times of Holy Observations are offered so we are supported in making those inner changes that will eventually bring us new outer experiences.
If we can move beyond the rituals and ideals of the different faiths that mostly stem from great misunderstanding of the teachings of the prophets, we can easily find ourselves in a time of a Holy season that starts in January with Epiphany and ends sometime in mid-June with the last day of the Ramadan. And these are only the observation times of the three main religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam). I am sure that there are many more celebration to observe that can support us in our commitment to live in closer proximity to God.
Every prophet who walked the earth shared the same message: devote undivided time to the Divine within. Pray, fast of the world, meditate, and connect within so you can reach the Heavens that resides inside every single one of us. This is the only true meaning of our existence. The rest is just passing the time.
So, in order to support myself on my quest for a deeper connection with God and my Soul, starting with Lent, I have been going to church on Sundays.
I am not particularly big on rituals such as masses but I do understand the importance of commitment and focus. Rituals such as fasting, praying five times a day, saying hosannas, attending mess, etc. are strong reminders of the importance of withdrawing from the world and the mind, devoting time to God, and ultimately spending time with our Soul that resides with God.
I love going to Church. I have not been to a Mosque or a Temple yet, but I am looking forward to the experience. I believe that churches of any kind are holy places that are blessed and filled with Spirit no matter of the faith.
I rarely participate in the Mass different churches offer because I do not believe that my faith and commitment is reflected in them. However, I spend the entire time while in church meditating. I devote my time, focus, and every breath to God. I focus on allowing my Soul to show new directions by ‘burning away’ the old ego based patterns and offering me new ways of being. It sometimes scares me how clear and open the path becomes; it brings me to a sudden halt of disbelief: ‘is it possible for me to be that liberated and happy?’ Then I take a big breath and ask for peace of mind. I let go.
At the moment, I am taking advantage of the Holy time of Ramadan to fast on the old, step back from the buzz of the world of the mind and focus on my Soul’s Calling: ‘This way, my Love!’
Extracts form the article on Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon
The observance of Ramadan is very personal and individual and is a time for “sacrifice and renunciation as well as a period of reflection and spiritual growth,” Florian Pohl, associate professor of religion at Oxford College of Emory University, told Live Science. Pohl added that Ramadan is also a powerful symbol of unity, with Muslims around the world fasting simultaneously while bringing family and friends together.
When Ramadan arrives, Yushau Sodiq, associate professor of religion and Islamic studies at Texas Christian University, feels “thrilled, because I am expecting it just like any other Muslim,” and uses the celebration to further connect himself to God and to services within his community.
Fasting: the fourth pillar of Islam
Fasting during Ramadan is the fourth of the Five Pillars of Islam. These pillars, or duties, form the basis of how Muslims practice their religion. According to Islam Guide, the Pillars of Islam are:
1. Shahada: faith in the Islam religion,
2. Salat: pray five times per day facing the direction of Mecca,
3. Zakat: give support to the needy,
4. Sawm: fast during Ramadan, and
5. Hajj: make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s lifetime.
During Ramadan, observant Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Fasting is not only about abstaining from food and drink: Muslims must also refrain from smoking, taking oral medications and engaging in sexual activities, as well as gossip, fighting and lying. Bahloul said that while it sounds difficult to abstain from eating for up to 17 or 18 hours (depending on where in the world Ramadan is celebrated), after a couple of days it becomes the norm, and it is a reminder that a person is not just a physical body but a soul as well.
Many mosques around the world host interfaith celebrations to break the fast, according to Pohl. This allows everyone to reflect on shared experiences within their own traditions involving fasting, including spiritual growth and social responsibility. “On several occasions,” Pohl said, “I have had Christian participants in these events tell me that they have regained an appreciation and deeper understanding of similar practices in their own faith traditions, such as during the Advent season or Lent.”