Today I want to talk about the experience of ‘my first Ramadan” as I call it. It is not my first Ramadan as I have fasted many times during my childhood and youth years, whereas I call it so as it is my first Ramadan with the intention to see the real meaning of it and after not fasting many years.
Before the journey of my first Ramadan: making my spiritual life, my priority
4 years ago, with the inspiration of daily prayers in Islam, I permitted myself to make my spiritual life a priority.
In Islam it is one of the 5 pillars, to pray 5 times a day. People just stop, slow down and go on their praying rug to connect.
How beautiful it is.
I always loved to look for the answers inside me. Since I discovered that I have oceans inside, my journeys inside have become even more joyful than my exterior journeys.
When did I become aware of my path?
Since 2006, I am on my path, thank God. That year something has little shaken inside me.
I discovered for the first time my emotion: jealousy and I felt ashamed of it. I still remember, crying in the middle of the night with this shame.
Since then, my spiritual life and the search for meaning has been the treasure of my life. As Yunus Emre once said ‘Whoever senses the meaning is the one who has drunken from the wine of Love.”
Inspiration from 5 times a day prayer
4 years ago, when my 2nd kid came to life, I decided to make my spiritual life a priority. I was walking on my path, but still living it from time to time and during retreats and my discoveries.
I remember thinking that there are people in the world who are praying 5 times a day, as also Benedicts doing it 7 times a day. This inspiration permitted me to start doing it. Since then, my spiritual life is one of my priorities in my life.
For years I have collected many rituals and daily I spare time to practice these rituals. What ritual or practice I make a change depending on time, space, and my need. The main thing stays the same: I hold space for myself. I connect to myself and the One.
My first Ramadan
Last year, I decided to live a Ramadan of my own style to discover its meaning for me.
In the middle of the quarantine, I woke up every night to do sahur, I prayed 5 times a day, I read the Quran before sleeping, and when I woke up for sahur and I did iftar.
As I am a ritual person-meaning that I love to live rituals and care for them, and still opening myself to see what is behind the veils, so focusing the meaning behind the format, all these were incredibly full of gifts for me, even though I was doing it alone on my own in the middle of a Spanish town.
After 1o days, I was beginning to feel tired and not sure to continue or not. Many fears came up during this.
So last year, when I was thinking to stop fasting- a huge feeling of fear came to me. Even I could say easily that fear washed me. I did not know what to do. I was thinking like this is an obligation, if I do not fast, maybe I will go to hell.
As a side note, I am a person grown in Turkey. Turkey is a weird country. In my family, there are all kinds of persons with different kinds of spiritual practices.
So I fasted for many years then I did not fast for a lot of years.
I never read the Quran or made namaz (daily prayer) as a daily practice.
So feeling all this fear of going to hell if I would not fast was a weird feeling for me at that time.
Quran is talking to you, be open to seeing it
One night when I woke up for the sahur, I made an intention for my dream before going back to sleep. I intended to have an answer to my situation.
That night after reading Quran, I had an incredibly powerful dream, full of symbols. In my dream I was marrying an 84-year-old person, just to say truly little about the dream.
Then I woke up and texted a friend who I did not see for a long time and asked if she could open a tarot for me. She accepted. Before opening a tarot for me, we spoke about my dream and my experience of Ramadan.
She said, “by the way, did you get a look at page number 84 in Quran, what is written? You know how dreams work with symbols; you could give it a try.”
There it was. On page 84 of my Holy Quran, the answer was speaking just to me.
“God wants to lighten your burdens related to relieigion: for man has been created weak.”(Nisa:28)
When I saw this, I was astonished by the meaning of the holy Quran. It is a magical book, guidance. Even though while I was reading Quran during those days, I had many questions and judgments about it, new possibilities opened up for me. I am praying for understanding its meanings, at least a bit for this Ramadan.
Ramadan’s meaning for me after my first Ramadan
It is a month of self-regulation and self-training, with the hope that this training will last beyond the end of Ramadan.
Ramadan is a blessing
It is permission to give to yourself. Permission to slow down. To be aware and appreciate. To realize that we all sing the name of the Creator in each of our breaths.
It is nothing to do with self-sacrifice if you see it this way but it is a revolutionary act in today’s world, the world of materialism. It is time to slow down, intending to go on an internal journey.
Ramadan makes it possible to live life as a ritual
Ramadan is an intention to be conscious of Allah all around. The rest is coming from the wisdom of the tradition. 5 times prayer, fasting from dawn to sunset, reading Quran, Dhikr and zakat.
Fasting from dawn to sunset. With the design of the process, you become aware of dawn and sunset.
The Breeze at Dawn
The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You must ask for what you really want.
Don’t go back to sleep.
People are going back and forth across the doorsill
where the two worlds touch.
The door is round and open.
Don’t go back to sleep.
You wake up in the middle of the night, prepare your meal slowly, maybe after that you read some Quran in the silence of the day.
You do your iftar, with the sunset, being aware of the closing and the beauty of the sunset.
The design of the process invites you to live life as a ritual.
You slow down and come up on the prayer rug 5 times a day. Namaz (prayer) ritual is a full one, with many details, but still, even if you just come to meditate. You relax inside the design of the process, as in trusting the process in a retreat that you attend, you show up on the prayer rug to connect with the One. 5 times during a day.
Dhikr is remembering. The best Dhikr of all is saying the name of the God, Allah.
“The seven heavens, the earth, and whatever is between them all glorify Him. There is nothing that does not glorify Him and always praise him, but you do not understand their praise and glorification. He is All-forbearing and All-forgiving.”(İsra, 17/44)
Ramadan is giving permission to yourself
Ramadan is a simulation, an opening, permission to reach the life of our dreams, a place of peace. A place where we have permission to slow down, be aware, and connect.
Ramadan is holding space for you
Inviting an inner journey means to accept both your shadow and your light. You never know what will come. It is a retreat and an experience. It is an adventure, and it is not an easy one.
So, you need to create a support system for yourself. The more you know yourself and be able to self-care the better you will hold space for yourself.
Quran as a book of magic
Reading Quran is kind of tricky for me because of what I have lived last year. I see Quran as the book of magic. The Quran is a dynamic opening in everyone’s perception, according to his/her present state and attitude.
“It was in the month of Ramadan that the Quran was revealed as guidance for mankind, clear messages giving guidance and distinguishing between right and wrong.”(Surah Al-Baqarah 2:185)
This is the meaning of Ramadan for me. What is the meaning of Ramadan for you?
Each Ramadan we discover other meanings of it. Let’s see what this Ramadan will bring to you and me. Let me know what Ramadan means for you.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Ramadan Board!