The last 10 days of Ramadan started mid-week last week. As we approach the end, we are physically weaker and sleep deprived. For those like me, the lower ego rears its ugly head and says when will this be over? So, I struggle internally between my self-centered ego and my higher self. My higher self reminds me that this form of worship is a test of our patience, which is a goldmine. It cleanses us of entitlements, stories of lack and victimhood, arrogance and pride; it humbles us and gets us closer to our Creator. And then I see it too, as I slow down on the outside and deepen the peace inside. I feel the deeper sense of gratitude when I open the fast at sunset for all that I took for granted before. I feel more patience when I get sad about not seeing family or friends.
The added seclusion due to COVID-19 has made us go even deeper for we have no distractions whatsoever, and most of us are praying more than ever. We mourn the people who lost their lives to this disease and pray for them. We mourn the lost moments with family and friends, and wonder when this will end? We feel sad when driving in downtowns or highways- everything is empty, lonely, sad and devoid of life. Shahid and I have been driving to parks every day to pass the time and enjoy nature. The beauty of nature reminds us of what was always there and always will be, unless we continue to tamper with Mother Nature. Were we living in some fantasy world that finally ended? Will we ever be able to do the fun things we did, like shop, party, entertain and just hang out? Was it all just an illusion?
And yet, we continue to struggle to live up to the higher values of the Soul, and learn to prepare for the inevitable, the parting from this Earth for all. It has been a Ramadan unlike any other. We are living in a time unlike any other that we ever experienced or ever imagined possible. Yet some of the spiritual teachers remind us – rightly so- to be grateful. This crisis has brought into the light many of the changes that need to occur- individually, collectively, globally. One way to think about this is that if COVID-19 had not happened, we might have faced a worse climate crisis than this; we might not have power, water and food even. Now we have awareness of how much we need nature and how our runaway materiality might not be the best model for the future. I personally think the new normal will be unlike our old normal, our pre-COVID-19 days. I think we will simplify our lives; we will be more appreciative and more grateful; we will rearrange and rectify the heedless spending and wasting that was going on.
So, I feel sad and peaceful at the same time. I make peace with what is. I try not to wait for a return to normal, and don’t even wait for date for things to be okay. I let myself cry when I miss my grandchildren. I also visit some of them but keep the 6-foot distance and a mask just in case. I miss their hugs and their kisses. I just deal with one day at a time. I do hope that one day some things will come back. And mostly I am thankful that my faith and Ramadan are helping me go inward at this time in history, as I cannot go outward.