If Ramadan is a blessing month and a unique and special one, the Sultan of all other months, then definitely it deserves a good amount of Ramadan preparation.
Ramadan is a journey, so get ready for it!
First, let’s start with the foundation.
It is time to sit down with yourself and talk about the agreements. I have some crucial ones; you can add more to this:
Ramadan Preparation Agreements
Before Ramadan starts it is good to have some agreements to set the foundation of the holy month that is coming. So that during the month you can come back, again and again, to remind yourself and to remember your starting point.
Beginner’s mind is a concept from Zen Buddhism’s shoshin and Shunryu Suzuki’s Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind
It is leaving your expectations and opening your mind and your heart so that you can welcome to see behind the veils that life is revealing to you each moment.
Does not the verse in Quran says that Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide to people and as clear proofs?
“The month of Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed as a guide to people and as clear proofs of separating the truth from the curve. So, let those of you who realize the month of Ramadan fast on it. ” (Baccarat, 185)
Having a beginner’s mind while getting prepared for Ramadan is being ready to get this guidance and see the proofs.
It is also about your attitude; it is accepting that your reality is a limited one.
Simplicity & austerity: focusing on being more than doing
Ramadan is about simplicity and austerity. But what does it really mean?
Dervishes of old times were calling themselves as being the son of the moment.
Can we welcome those dervishes’ heritage to our life during this blessed month? Each thing that we do, can we do it slowly, being aware of saying Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim before starting everything, so that welcoming the Compassion of God near us?
At least trying. One step at a time. When you become aware that you are rushing, remembering your agreement, and letting yourself gently come to your breath is a perfect starting point, which is enough, which is all you need.
Devotion: whatever you do, do with love and do your best
“And bid thy people pray and persevere therein. [But remember:] We do not ask thee to provide sustenance [for Us]: it is We who provide sustenance for thee. And the future belongs to the God-conscious” (Ta-Ha 20:132)
Those times when anxiety comes to you with the feeling of rushing, gently remind yourself that God does not want sustenance from you; actually, God is providing all those for you. Relax my dear, what you only need is God-consciousness.
All those times when anxiety knocks on your door during Ramadan, gently breathe, remember your devotion agreement. Focus on whatever doing with love, with devotion. Do your best with Love.
Compassion & Forgiveness
Start all your acts with Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim as a reminder of compassion for yourself.
My grandfather was always reminding me to start all my acts with this beautiful world; Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim – in the name of Allah, The Most Gracious, and The Most Merciful.
Sometimes I was remembering but most of the time I was forgetting. I could not understand its real meaning for me until I got my kids.
When I became a mother, I experienced another kind of Love, an unconditional one towards my kids. My compassion level expanded beyond my limits.
I thought if I am like this to my kids, how God would be towards me with compassion. I remember just could not stop crying once realizing a tidy bit of the unlimited compassion that God could have.
So since then whenever I feel like I need some compassion towards me when I realize I am behaving badly to myself, I whisper to myself this beautiful world gently; Bismillah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim.
Ramadan is a month of compassion and forgiveness. To feel compassion and forgiveness to others, you need to feel those to you first.
Maybe this agreement is the most important of all. Make sure to come again and again to this agreement during Ramadan.
Assent: come to unity, leave duality
The war is continuous inside. Each moment the war of the devil and the angel, the dark and light continue. This is how we have been created anyway.
“And indeed, we have created man, and We know whatever thoughts his inner self develops, and We are closer to him than (his) jugular vein.” (Al Kahf 50:16)
God knows it. God knows about everything. No need to feel ashamed or guilty.
When you realize that there is a war inside, remember that God is closer to you than your jugular vein. Gently breathe and come to a moment.
Stop blaming yourself or the other one. Choose to leave duality and come to unity.
Patience & Surrender – Time to surrender, time to relax!
Ramadan is a great time to let go. To surrender. Yes, you can surrender while you are very hungry, and because of that when you are terribly angry.
Yes, you can surrender when you feel like you cannot continue anymore.
The way is simple, remember this agreement and gently come to your breath and let your breath open the doors of the Moment, which is what you only have.
Ramadan preparation: create your sacred space
You know how important it is to me to create a space to find yourself over and over again. Ramadan is a journey to find yourself so find God. I cannot imagine a better time to create a special place that is unique to you- a sacred space for these days.
This can be a room, a corner- whatever you feel like or that you can have.
Keep in mind the simplicity and austerity agreement of Ramadan. This being in mind, ask yourself what you would like to have in such a space?
Some ideas to help you. You can have:
- Some posters with inspiring quotes, prayers, or verses from Quran.
- A reminder of these agreements.
- Your prayer rug.
- Your Quran.
- A diary or simply a notebook that would serve for that.
- Tasbih (misbaha, tesbih)
- Books that you would like to have in your Ramadan journey.
- The musical instrument if you make music.
- Colorful pens.
- Colorful colors from your ancestors.
Keep it simple and clean. Come to visit that space daily, sahur and after iftar are the best times for this.
Do not forget that space can help to hold a space for you during this blessed journey. Let this space mirror what is going inside to outside. Create a sacred space with love and care.
Conclusion of Ramadan preparation
By creating a sacred space and your agreements you have set your foundation for this journey. Ramadan is a unique journey, happening each year again and again. Each year providing you all the guidance you need in your life journey.
Taking time to prepare for this blessed month is an important one. Let me know what are your preparations for Ramadan?
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Ramadan Board!