Every day my friend at work comes to me with a new reason why she thinks she is fasting, one day it is detoxing the body, the other day it is unburdening the soul, the latest one was self discipline. N, i found it, it's to be taught self discipline!
N: um.. why do you think we need to be taught discipline to begin with?
And it goes on and on.
My other friend asked me before Ramadan: will you fast N?
N: Yes i think so, haven't given it much thought, you?
M: I will i guess, but i doubt i will next year.
When i fasted in France my friends looked at me like i was an enigma, sitting with them over dinner having not eaten all day and turning down wine every day for 30 days.
But you're so cool otherwise, how does this make sense to you?
The bf had me on the phone the other day: are you fasting?
Bf (disgruntled): how could people assume that starving themselves all day is something that would make God happy?
I watch the people around me full of contradictions:
some pray but also drink and have sex
some fast and don't pray and drink but wont have sex
some do drugs and bash alcohol
some drink and bash drugs
most of them are on the fence, clinging to the notion of a god in case heaven and hell really were out there awaiting us, or are on the fence still and have some unanswered questions but the idea of god pisses them off, so they take no clear stand.
I had a three hour long conversation with one of my close friends about religion, not God, religion. At the end of which she concluded: so you don't believe in God at all?
I was puzzled, that's not true at all i replied, why does everyone jump to that conclusion?
If i have reservations about religion, i am rendered blasphemous
If i believe in God i am rendered backwards and brainwashed
why does everyone care so much to box?
I am a very simple girl when it comes to my belief in the existence of God.
I believe we are all made of the same thing, we are all essentially good, we shall keep living over and over again through different lives and planes. We are not going anywhere, we are already there, time is like a row of leaves, all happens at the same time, there is free will, and the free will coincides with the free will of the universe, the collective free will.
Hell can be your bad day or mine, hell could be the next life of a rapist having come back as a snail. But no on is to tell me that we were born with instinct that would lead us to rot in hell forever, or that i am to go through life with any notion that i need to be disciplined. The only discipline i need is to make myself stay positive, to prolong my heaven, to enjoy my life.
I have met many great people in my life.
One of the greatest people i met was a gardener in France, she was the kindest and strongest of women, after many months of a lovely friendship, she asked me, so you believe in God?
I said, yes, after alot of thinking i have decided that i do, you?
S: No i don't, i believe in me.
I looked at her admirably, and i told her that for me, that was the same as believing in God.
S: So you don't judge me?
N: Hell no, good on you.
That girl is one of the best people i know.
I have other great people in my life, some of them meditate, some of them believe in Islam and that they are sinners and will calm down one day. Some of them can't be bothered to think about it so pass on making the statement, and some of them are so turned off religion they've renounced the whole notion of it. Others completely and whole heartedly don't believe there is anything more to life than this.
They are all good people, they feed the poor, they try to make people smile, they don't take what is not rightfully theirs and they all earn their living and take care of their friends and family.
What more could you ask for in a person? What more could you want? At the end of the day they all live, we all live, and that is what we were all meant to do, just be.
Whatever your beliefs or actions are, do you think they affect God one way or the other?
You are what you make of yourself, only you lose or gain from how you think or what you do.
I don't know why people think God has anything to do with it at all.
And finally, if it all doesn't matter why do i believe in God? If there are no punishments or rewards, no endings and no beginnings? How is my faith in God so absolute?
Because my faith in God is for me.
It gives me a sense of belonging, a friend at all times, the comfort that i am understood no matter how crazy i am, it makes me feel like i am a part of something.
It's a selfish feeling, i do it for me not him/her/it.
This belief makes me strengthen myself, not expect him to bless me with strength.
This belief makes me able to go on when it's tough, not expect him to make it easy.
This belief makes me feel that no matter how lonely i get, I'm not alone.
Maybe there are people out there who don't need this, who are absolutely happy without this, there is nothing wrong with that, our fingers are not the same, and we would be foolish to want them to be.
So yogi's, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, Christians, meditators, atheists and agnostics, and all those other people out there, you are all right if you are all happy, fret not, fight not.
I would celebrate with all of you if i were in your culture or with one of you, i'd light candles and chant mantras, i'd eat turkey and wrap Christmas gifts, it's all about sharing love and wanting good things, that's all we have to have in common.
And that is why i fast.