Sunday, September 30, 2007

Why I Fast

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?
N: Yup
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.


Lasto-adri *Blue* said...

WOW! I was taken by your words..
you know.. for so long I never believed in atheists.. i never believed that there are people living among us and doesn't truly believe in God's existence..
it was all like very obvious facts that doesn't need bare eyes to realize it..

now i know.. i was wrong...
not all fingers are the same, and not all people too..
there are people who doesn't fast, pray or even believe in God...
that was hard for me for sometime.. and caused me a period of confusion..

mm... now i won't say i'm out of such confusion.. yet not as before more or less.. I just knew like how you just said :
"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."

Yeah... I do it for me..

insomniac said...

i've always thought that a person's faith (not religion) affects only him/her... behaviours and attitudes touch others; hence, make them either like or dislike you...

you mentioned how u know good ppl with different belief systems that you may not 'agree' with... same here, i've also seen people talk all religiously and pretend to abide by whatever rules their religion implies and somehow mistreet and abuse their fellow humans...

what you believe in is yours alone and if it makes you a better person then it can't be evil or bad or whatever label people use!! or that's what i think :)

femme said...

i dont think i could have said it better. relgion always seems to put people in a box. im not big on any religion especially as life's patterns are not clear cut and religion doesnt have a straight answer.

i dont care about anyones religious views as long as doing the right thing as much as u can is the adopted philosophy.

Will E. said...

Belief is a lot like love, many feel they don't need it and that's okay; many feel that they need it and can't live without it, and they search for it to fulfill that need; some deny its existence because it's easier to believe there's no such thing and that people have made it up to feel better about themselves, and let's face it, you can't prove love no more than you can prove God.

But some people can do without it, but want it, and in their desire to find it, they search for it, without the pressure to belong or to conform or to live a lie, and I think that's the healthiest kind.

In any case, I have no problems with any kind, but I sympathise with people who don't feel the need for God, cause of a quote I read once, 'The hardest thing for an atheist is when he is thankful but has no one to thank.'

I'm not sure if it's just me, but I feel that at some point in time no matter how much you believe in just yourself, you'll need to reach out for something.. something beyond you.. do we have all there is to sustain us even at our weakest of times?

Cognition-sense said...

You're beautiful :)

Jade said...


"Religion is the Opium of the Nation"
It's beautiful to be able to accept others regardless of their beliefs.
I hate the way religion has become a "social" thing, a "fashion statement", a "collective we". I wish people would just realize that religion is such a personal & profound experience... & I dont understand how people get put off of their religion by the way others practice the same religion.

Whatever happened to it being "just for me" as you said.

Here's to a lot of respect for a brilliant post.

nilenadine said...

Religion and how one worships is such a deep topic that is extremely difficult to compile into one post. But I think you did a pretty good job. I totally agree with you that religion is about you and your relationship with whatever higher power you chose and it shouldn't involve anyone else or society.

Alina said...

You are right, we are selfish in our belief. All my childhood, I gave God a fatherly figure because that was what I needed. Right now, I believe there is a God, he/she/it, that does not matter that much. But I think I believe in no religion. I just pick up and accept the good part of all religions out there.

Forsoothsayer said...

i still don't understand the causal link between believing in God and fasting.

Faisal said...

Were that all people were like that.

N said...

forsooth: imho, there is no link. thats my whole point, we do these things to feel close to each other, or to aspire for a god's blessing that we link to these activities.

N said...

faisal: :)
shoft ely enta katabto, impressive piece, don't stop now!

Cairene said...

I like your optimistic take on religion :] I wish i could adopt a similar one. I don't fast...I do, however, see a point of fasting and it IS self-discipline like your friend said. Self discipline is important, why? because it teaches you skills that enable you to do what you love, and commit to it.

Sports teach you that, too. You have push yourself little by little so that you put new limits, ones you didn't know you could reach!

As for the boxes...People put others, and themselves in boxes because it's easier to deal that way, and because most people fit in one box or the other...and that's not so bad. The bad thing is that some people have very limited amount of boxes in such a way that you either fit in the "cool" box, or the "religious" box. Now in this way boxes are a little too simplistic.

I understand your take on fasting, and you know what, rituals should, sometimes, be taken out of context because rituals can be fun. They're especially fun when you're not obliged to do them by people around you, and they can be very comfortable, much more comfortable when no one tries too hard to rationalize and analyze practicing them!