In 2008, I spent the holy month of Ramadan in coastal Tanzania, in a region saturated with Muslims.
Though it was not without its inconveniences, I quite enjoyed the experience. As I became close with a handful of those who fasted to celebrate the holy month, I naturally developed an admiration for their dedication and their faith.
I said then that I too would celebrate Ramadan someday. This year, with no real routine holding me down, I have decided to carpe mense, so to speak.
In truth, I think my fasting is more Lent-ish than Muslim, but I quite honestly don’t think God cares. Muslims who fast simply do not consume anything at all, even water, from dawn until dusk, while dedicating a significant(er) amount of time to prayer. I don’t see the whole ‘dawn-to-dusk’ bit as being particularly applicable to me at this time, but I do feel that I have been far too indulgent for far too long. As such, I have decided to forgo most of my favorite treats (read: drugs and “drugs”) for 30 days, partly to throw a little extra respect towards God and partly to re-appreciate many of the things I take for granted. Primarily though, I hope to re-establish some semblance of my formerly formidable self-control, which has become increasingly flaccid over the past few years. Someday I will do Ramadan properly, but this seems a whole lot more applicable at the moment.
So yeah, the things I will not be consuming from August 12 to September 12 include, in order of expected difficulty:
4. Coca-cola, Iced Tea, Etc.
6. Thoughts of a specific human being who, in the words of Emerson, is a “delicious torment”
7. Meat … though this has less to do with fasting and more to do with a desire to stop killing living creatures unnecessarily, and I figured a month would be more reachable than a flat-out commitment to vegetarianism.
Really, the most difficult thing is the one I failed to mention, but we won’t get into that here. 😉
I’m three days in, and I’ve already tripped once, but felt sufficiently guilty for failing in my commitment to God that I figure I have that one licked. I’m curious to learn which turns out to be the most difficult. Regardless, so far I feel great! 🙂