I haven't posted in about a month... it feels like forever... odd.
This Ramadan has been interesting, so unique because I don't have a crazy schedule. I just teach in the morning and the rest of the day, I'm essentially free (other than research/paper writing). It is my first Ramadan in a long time, that I've had the opportunity to go to tarawih (the night prayers), because usually I have night classes up until 10pm and I don't get home till 11pm. I haven't gone to Qiyams (which is a long prayer all night long) with such frequency 2-3 times a week. In all honesty, I don't think I've ever even tasted the spiritual sweetness of Ramadan that scholars always talk about. But this Ramadan, I think I'm somewhere close. Maybe it's the sleep deprivation, maybe its the community feel, maybe it's just God. But I feel like I'm getting there.
Recently, I've been looking into other ways of expressing my faith, a more spiritual side, and this started about a month or so before Ramadan. I felt like I was just a machine, mechanically prayer, mechanically practicing.... my hinges needed to be oiled, my body clanging with each movement, it was grating. It was exhausting. I just felt wrong. I think God saw this, maybe my friends saw this, but suddenly I was thrust into a new world of spirituality that I haven't experienced before. An avenue that is much misunderstood (and still is by me), but it is something I learned (aml earning) to find contentment in. It is GENUINE. It is something that I found God in.
Yesterday at the Qiyam Sheik Salim Khalid said "I ride the waves of faith/spirituality", and his statement really resonated with me. I don't think I truly would have internalized such as statement 2 months ago. I would have chalked it up to be flowery, probably mocked it to no extent. But yesterday, I found it to be so unbelievable true.
Before Ramadan started, I visited multiple religious centers of various faith traditions. People hummed/sang with their spiritual leaders. Some swayed. Some chanted with gusto. I took it in. I observed, smiled, and swayed along. But instead in my head, I whispered some dhikr (remembrances of god) "thank god, god is beautiful, god is merciful...." I felt like I was part of a body of worshippers, each of us worshipping God in our own way. Now, during night prayers, something I NEVER could connect with, I feel the thread tying us all together. At the mawlids, I feel that thread. With the gift exchange of prayer beads, I feel the connection. I realized, the tradition I was lost in (not a specific tradition, but my own established self tradition) was so difficult to deal with. I am a very active person and I thought that type of religious lifestyle suited me the best. So, spirituality and gatherings of seeking a spiritual side were pushed off as not being as productive. I don't know what I am trying to say, really. But I guess, I found a direction I want to go through and I'm standing at the door looking out.