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That’s Eid… May 12, 2021

Posted by ajoyfulpractice in Uncategorized.
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(“Eid Mubarak, Blessed Festival!” to anyone who was observing the month of Ramadān. Many blessings, also, to those who are Counting the Omer. Many blessings to everyone, everywhere (even if you weren’t).

[This post contains information related to the practices on Monday, May 10th and (today) Wednesday, May 12th.]

“Use your time wisely. Spend it only in pursuit of things that are good.”

– Imam Khalid Latif in a 2013 “Ramadān Reflection” for Huffington Post

There’s a Michael Brook called “How Could I Spend My Time?” on the Inconvenient Truth soundtrack and I often use the song to ask that exact question during a practice. How could I spend my time? What’s the best use of the time any one of us has been given? Those are questions any one of us could ask at any given time in our lives. Those are questions I ask myself all the time, as I know many of you do too.

However, I find them to be very keen questions after spending some much of the last few months focused on how people around the world have spent time connecting their mundane, everyday lives with the sacred and the profane. I find them very poignant questions after the last year and a bit where our choices have, in some ways, been curtailed or defined by the restrictions of the pandemic and very interesting questions when I consider the creative ways people have answered those questions in spite (or because) of the pandemic restrictions. These are also questions we are all asking, on some level, as things start to “open back up.”

But, before I get sidetracked by the mundane, let’s focus on the sacred again. Let’s focus on how we answer the questions about everyday life after we’ve tasted a bit of divine life.

Tonight at sunset (depending on the sighting of the crescent moon) marks the end of the holy month of Ramadān. After a month of fasting, prayers, and abstinence (from sex and vices like cursing, gossip, and sarcasm) during daylight hours – and after the last ten days, when some Muslims have spent extra time in prayer – one of the holiest times in Islām concludes with a big celebration: Eid al-Fitr (“The Breaking of the Fast Festival”).

Fasting during the holy month of Ramadān is one of the Five Pillars of Islām (part of the framework of worship and signs of faith) and it is traditionally practiced in community. Muslims mark the end of the month of Ramadān with a celebratory feast, a sermon, prayers, and extra alms giving. In particular, people will give the gift of food (one of the very things they have given up for a month) to those who are less fortunate. Just like the month that precedes it, Eid al-Fitr is traditionally a time of community. But, even as people are coming out of quarantine – even as people around the world get vaccinated and/or take diagnostic tests to see if they can break bread with their ummah (“community”) – people all over the world are still faced with challenging choices.

At this very moment, people still have to reconsider what it means to be in and with community. And, people still have to make hard choices about how they spend their time. Just consider that the world’s third largest Muslim population (around 204 million people, which is a little over 10% of the world’s Muslim population) resides in India – where the pandemic is raging.

“Many Muslims will give emphasis to the 27th of Ramadān… but, the opinions on what day it is varies. The Qur’ān doesn’t mention a specific date for Laylat al-Qadr and the Prophet Muhammad’s recommendation: to ‘Seek it in the last 10 days, on the odd nights,’ indicates the importance of searching for it.”

– Imam Khalid Latif in a 2012 Ramadān Reflection” for Huffington Post

“Kuraib reported that Ibn ‘Abbas spent a night in the house of the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) and he said: The Messenger of Allah may peace be upon him) stood near the water-skin and poured water out of that and performed ablution in which he neither used excess of water nor too little of it, and the rest of the hadith is the same, and in this mention is also made (of the fact) that on that night the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) made supplication before Allah in nineteen words. Kuraib reported: I remember twelve words out of these, but have forgotten the rest. The Messenger of Allah said: ‘Place light in my heart, light in my tongue, light in my hearing, light in my sight, light above me, light below me, light on my right, light on my left, light in front of me, light behind me, place light in my soul, and make light abundant for me.’”

Sahih Muslim 7673 (Book 4 Hadith Muslim 1680)

According to the Yoga Philosophy (as well as other Eastern Philosophies like Buddhism), suffering is comes from attachment. In the Yoga Sūtras, Patanjali makes a direct correlation between afflicted/dysfunctional thought patterns (and behavior) and all forms of suffering. Therefore, when we look at our thoughts, words, and deeds through a “yogic” lens, we start to look at the cause-and-effect of how we choose to spend our time. We may even start to ask questions like: Where is my focus? Where am I putting my energy? What happens when I change my focus and where I put my energy?

“It’s a blessing to have seen another Ramadān but it’s also a blessing to see the first day of Shawwal and every tomorrow that I will see. Don’t focus on what you don’t have. Definitely don’t focus on what others see that you have. But just take a moment and think about all that you do have and let gratitude carry you through the days.”

– Imam Khalid Latif in a 2013 “Ramadān Reflection” (Day 30) for Huffington Post

Please join me today (Wednesday, May 12th) at 4:30 PM or 7:15 PM for a yoga practice on Zoom. Use the link from the “Class Schedules” calendar if you run into any problems checking into the class. You will need to register for the 7:15 PM class if you have not already done so. Give yourself extra time to log in if you have not upgraded to Zoom 5.0. You can request an audio recording of this practice via a comment below or by emailing myra (at) ajoyfulpractice.com.

Wednesday’s playlist is available on YouTube and Spotify. [Look for “Ramadan 2020”]

Two quick notes about the music: First, while the most of the musicians featured on the playlists during these final days of Ramadān are Muslim there are some exceptions. One of the notable exceptions – notable, because she is the only female soloist and the only non-Muslim singer on the list – is Reba McEntire. Her song “Pray for Peace” is on the playlist because she released it during the month of Ramadān in 2014 – but not just randomly in the month, the song was released in the last ten days of the month! Second, there are some songs on the playlist that are Nasheeds (meaning they are religiously moral songs) that, in some traditions, are meant to be sung without instrumentation or only with percussion. I have, however, included orchestrated versions of these songs, because this seems to have worked best in an in-studio setting. As far as I know, percussion or voice only recordings of each song are available (if you want to build your own playlist). Alternatively, you can practice without the music (or use this “chaos” music).


[If you are interested in more information about how the holy month of Ramadān intersects with yoga, check out some of the links highlighted above.]

 In the spirit of generosity (“dana”), the Zoom classes, playlists, and blog posts are freely given and freely received. Don’t feel “fourthed,” but please keep in mind that there’s still time to Kiss My Asana! Donations to the yogathon are counted for classes. If you are able to support these teachings, please do so as your heart moves you. (NOTE: You can donate even if you are “attending” a practice that is not designated as a “Common Ground Meditation Center” practice, or you can purchase class(es). If you don’t mind me knowing your donation amount you can also donate to me directly. Donations to Common Ground are tax deductible; class purchases and donations directly to me are not necessarily deductible.)