It’s All In The Mind

gastritis-crankiness-makan-makan-puasa-saum-ramadhan-kareem-the-Creator-subconscious-mind-spiritual-renewal-self-restraint-Khairany-keajaibanminda-ats-kuantan-malaysiaIt is the second day of Ramadhan and it is raining as I am writing this. It is nice and cool now, compared to the recent El Nina heat wave sweeping through the country… I just cannot believe that Ramadhan is here again. It feels just like yesterday when the family home in Pekan was full with people I care about, reminiscing and laughing while munching on the goodies synonymous to Hari Raya… Time flies when you are having fun, eh? Oh…  another 27 days to The Day!…Hehehe…

Back to fasting… Yes, sun up to sun down, we have to exercise self restraint and self discipline to all the things that we are used to  for the 11 months. No breakfast ‘date’ at the kopitiam, no coffee breaks in the afternoons, no gardening in the mornings (that has nothing to do with religion…), and no makan-makan sessions. I know my absence in my favourite kopitiam will be greatly felt… Hehehe…

Like most Muslim children in Malaysia, I started fasting when I was six years old. It was like an hourly basis kind of exercise, monitored by the Khan. By the next year, I managed to successfully completed 28 days! I missed the last day as I could not resist the temptation… oh… the smell of the rendang in the afternoon before Hari Raya… made me lose control… and the Raya incentive (financial reward for completing the whole month of fasting) went with the rendang, too !

From then on, with annual practice, it became much easier. It went on for a good number of years until one day I found that I was not as strong as I used to be. That was the year when I was in and out of hospitals due to fatigue!

Since then, Ramadhan was not the same again. I had my ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days. ‘Good’ meant that I was able to sleep at 8:00 a.m. (after watering my plants) and waking up at 1:00 p.m. “Bad’ was when I would be in bed till 3:00 p.m. and did nothing productive till it was time to break the fast. After Iftar was not that good either… It was a well known secret among close friends and family. I hope this would help explain the reason that I had over the years, politely declined all invitations to Iftar. Sob!

I was a terrible sight to see during Ramadhan, then. My brother used to visit and laughed, looking at me. Every year he used to say,

Apalah… sebelas bulan punyalah kuat! Bukit, gunung, sungai, laut semua redah… Baru puasa, dah lembik macam ni! Rasulullah sampai boleh pergi perang! Ishh… awak ni, macamana kalau perang…”.

Every year my response to that was… a little whining and a few drops of tears. That would be enough to make my brother panicked and scrambled to get my favourite food for Iftar! Those were the days. Hehehe…

Now, it is a different story. I am better now during Ramadhan. I am no longer a weakling from those years. Headaches and migraines from caffeine withdrawal? Gastritis? They are things of the past. Crankiness is a different story… it is of no relevance, right? Hehehe…

What did I do? All I did was practice what I preach… Preparing myself mentally and physically; AMC style. First the challenge to find out the cause of my ‘fasting ailments’. Once I found the root of it all, I laughed out for a while (Lesson learnt: the subconscious do not understand jokes, okay?), and got on to modifying the root cause. From then on it was a complete change in my mindset in relation to fasting and the physical side of things became so much easier.

All it took was a series of weekly fasting practice during the months of Rejab and Syaaban to prepare me for Ramadhan. By then, come Ramadhan, I am well prepared, body and mind. Hehehehe…

Of course, Ramadhan is not all about going without food and drinks from sun rise to sun down only. It is of course much more than that. It is a spiritual renewal exercise for Muslims. It is about exercising self restraint and maintaining self discipline with the main objective to be more conscious of The Creator. It is a time where Muslims strive to improve spiritually and hope the religious activities performed during Ramadhan would continue for the rest of the year.

Well, I still have another 27 days of fasting and religious activities to observe; and 27 days to Hari Raya! Let the countdown begin!

Salam Ramadhan to all my Muslim readers!

— Khairany

p/s: Ramadhan is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar when for the whole month, Muslims all around the world observe fasting from sunrise to sunset. (Fasting is one of the five pillars in Islam).


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