A lot of people including many Muslims who observe the month of Ramadan have lack of complete understanding of the reasoning of fasting. People take it only as restraining from eating or they think it is basically to understand the condition of people who have nothing to eat. Though it is both of that but it is beyond that as well.
Especially health wise intermittent fasting is a growing concept world over for its health benefits and fitness effectiveness. Basically how Ramadan fasting is different from normal diet control or intermittent fasting is that it does not just have to do with body, it is not just about balanced meal in take, it is about controlling your mind from negativity, enriching your spirit with purposefulness and meaning. It takes your life from the regular speed to a self checking gradual speed and that is something we all should ensure doing as well. Five things a long with restraining from food that should be refrained from are as follows:
1-fasting of talking too much
Talking too much is not appreciated in most religions. Budha used to remain silent for hours. Similarly when Hindu monks are trained for spirituality they observe fasting of remaining silence for days.
Silence is helpful in discovering yourself, it also enables to focus on ones own self and therefore provides chance for improvement as human being.
Secondly when you talk too much, you talk useless and as we fill out time by talk we spend time bitching about other people that pollutes our mind and hurt other people.
This Ramadan try talking less, not to suffocate your thoughts or feelings but gradually training yourself to let go of what is unnecessary thoughts and hurtful vengeance vibes.
how to talk less (a little guide)
a)try small, like if you usually talk on text too much or on phone. Reduce that time a little bit.
b)focus on what you talk, if it is back biting about other people, review your talk. Someone gave me a very good tip of avoiding back biting, she said once someone starts talking negatively of someone else, quickly add something positive about that 3rd person. When you talk good about that third person, the opposite person has to stop their bitching about them as well. so try this it has helped me a lot.
c) usually people talk a lot because when they become silent, they start thinking of their worries, and troubles of their lives therefore they get stressed, so talking in such a case is escape for them. Meditation is best for such a case, take some very calming meditation music from youtube, play it and silently lie on your bed and take yourself to a peaceful place, like a valley or jungle and in your imagination do ordinary things like sitting near a lake or walking among the plants.
I know perhaps it sounds really silly but trust me it is such a good way of calming your thoughts. You mind gradually gets trained to take itself out of the present world of worries, which always remains and will remain in one form or the other, to a place of just absolute bliss without a reason. At least try it for a week. I do it very often and has made me much calmer person.
2-fasting of watching inappropriate stuff
Firstly, inappropriate does not mean vulgar or illicit stuff like videos or movies because that is not inappropriate rather it is complete immoral and corrupt material to take in your mind and therefore the consequences are obvious. By inappropriate I mean things that are full of vile, anger and frustration like many Pakistani dramas. You will see in these dramas people viciously plotting against each other, or humiliating and harming each other. With such material one gradually gets numb to their negativity and it is a strong possibility to practice, unintentionally, such things in our own life and in our dealings with other people.
Secondly many such dramas show women or men in self pity and being glorified as great when they keep bearing injustice. So watching inappropriate content can lead us to uncleaned trashed up mind which has less to think and more to frustrate.
Watch things that make you happy, things that are inspirational and brings you to thinking in a refreshing manner for that you can watch good documentaries or even some good movie but try staying away from negativity.
3-fasting of pride
Pride does not only happen to people who are very rich and successful, pride means that when you get obsessed with yourself, or you take yourself special for having or achieving a certain thing that others don’t have. In modern culture where it is now so strongly promoted to believe in yourself people get misguided to be too proud of what they have at cost of what others don’t have.
One has a complete to right to be happy of their havings and doings but we need to constantly keep ourselves under our own check.
It is very important for us to perfect our habits from the forum of Ramdan if we can restrain from food that drives us daily, we can refrain from pride that grows us into little being with great egos.
The problem with pride is that you never get enough of yourself because pride thrives on out doing others or surpassing others, and you can’t be in lead forever. So train yourself into thinking that working hard and never giving up are beautiful qualities but winners are not always on top or ahead, winners are sometimes behind and below but satisfied with their effort and joyous on those who are able to move ahead of them.
4-fasting of self doubt
And as we are discussing that sometimes, unknowingly we feel triumphant for achieving what other don’t have and becomes victims of pride, there are many a times when we give our-self much tough time by not giving ourselves the due credit.
As the world is obsessed with success, fame and money, and the trend is getting stronger, we keep measuring ourselves under these standards and if are not able to meet these standards we doubt our worth.
You need to sit yourself down and tell yourself, it is ok if you haven’t earned as much money as your class fellow who was too non serious with his/her studies, it is ok if you are not married yet though your cousin, who was perhaps not as disciplined as you are, have gotten married, it is also ok if your relatives are traveling and celebrating when you are worried what to do with your life.
Number one, no one is completely happy, what you see is not always the reality. Secondly you have your own timeline, don’t keep hurting your own feelings by telling you are not capable or worthy enough.
If you are still figuring what to do, when to settle or where to go next, you are very much an amazing human being, you are exploring the journey that is set for you.
A lot of people face self doubt because their close friends or family members pressure them into thinking that they are missing the time( set by society for certain things). You need to cut off from such people, no matter how close you are to them. If people don’t value your journey, they don’t value your path and if they don’t value your path that means they don’t value who you are. So always remember being alone is far better than being with wrong people.
so figure out your journey but at your own terms and stop calling yourself wrong or less smart.
Especially I see so many girls always saying ‘I am so naive , or stupid not to understand people,’ there is nothing to be proud of for calling yourself an idiot. Say that you are smart and then believe that you are smart.
5-fasting of negativity
As a nation we love rather are addicted to negativity. We enjoy talking behind people, complaining about our situation, harping about our past mis-happenings, holding grudges. What this does is that it develops us into people who always self pity and when you self pity you start believing that other people are always unfair to you, so you become selfish in your dealings. You become filled with this idea of gaining maximum benefit out of every situation and person. So this negative circle makes a person selfish and mean, and it is hard as a mean and selfish person to find a herd of nice, positive people.
If you have anger over something or someone, confront it. Go to that person talk to him/her either vent your anger and be free of negativity or if you can’t or don’t have the courage to confront then have the courage to let go of it. Don’t harbor that grudge and keep looking for opportunities to secretly harm that person.Learn to let go, let go of toxic people, negative thoughts, most of all bitter feelings about your own self or about other people.
They say you can make or break habits in 21 days, and here in Ramadan we are talking about around 29 to 30 days, so what an amazing opportunity we have to reboot ourselves into better human beings. If at the end of this month all you have achieved is much thinner body or much fitter posture than basically you have just helped yourself into making an idol of yourself to praise and bow to for the remaining year.
Use this opportunity to cleanse yourself inside and out. They say you can reach God through His people and you are one of His people so get in good shape mentally and spiritually to meet Him and to actually meet yourself and to bring everything in harmony. An yes it is not easy, it is an effort that you will fail at, time and again but it is an effort not to get tired of, because the best part is that even within that effort you will start getting results. You will start improving into a more positive and productive person towards yourself.