Sunday, September 7, 2008

Ramadan 7: Breaking Away


All of us have lives that serve us. We have ways of doing our day-to-day which is enabling. This molds all of our dealings with others, such as, "I'm sorry I can't meet you on Tuesday, that's the night I always..."

That confine of predictability is as comforting as snuggling under a warm blanket. Ahhhhh so warm! Oooooh so zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Where was I?

Oh, yes, I was about to talk about how that same comfort can make you complacent, as in,

"But I always_____________!"

" You know I can't_______________!"

"I would never ___________!"

Life then becomes a bad habit which we need to break.

Breaking sounds bad: breaking the law; breaking your arm; breaking wind.

But Breaking can also sound good: breaking new ground, breaking away from the pack, breaking free.

It's all in how you look at it.

During Ramadan (and did you wonder when I'd finally get to that?), we need to break up our routine. We have to! That break in the routine gives us a chance at living a refreshed life with new opportunites for growth and discovery.

This is especially realized because, not only do we lose our former schedule, but at the same time, we reinstitute our good behavior. We are not lost. We have been guided in Quran and by sunnah and hadith. Those guidelines, if we follow them this month, will bring us closer to Allah and closer to a fully realized existence.

One of my favorite metaphors is that of the chick in the shell. Mark Nepo wrote about this in The Book of Awakening . He said that the chick lives in its little world happily. It would love to stay in the egg forever. Only rapid growth prevents it from remaining there. The egg cannot sustain the baby bird and the shell begins to crack. For the chick, its world is literally falling apart; cracking up and being destroyed. How truly frightening! The chick thinks life is ending, but we know life is only beginning. The larger world awaits.

I believe that death and The Day of Judgement are going to seem a lot like we move out from our shells and into the bigger world beyond. Allahu alim.

So, when I feel at a loss for my world falling apart, I remember I'm not cracking up; I'm cracking open. This opening up enables us to live on a deeper, more fulfiling level.

Think to yourself what exactly you are allowing to limit your life. There are habits, addictions, relationships, and old ways of thinking which no longer serve their purpose. We all have grown and we continue growing throughout this Holy Month. What is it that needs to break apart in order for us to break away from our past ways?

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