Sleeping as a spiritual exercise; day 8 of Ramadan

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Because of my work schedule during the weekdays I find myself waking up rather early in the morning, and I find myself waking up earlier still for breaking the fast. Subsequently I have moments in my life where I have to catch up with my sleep during a time where I wouldn’t normally sleep, today was one of those days.

I played A LOT of basketball with my students, an exhausting amount in fact. It’s wonderful to play with my students, but I am rather exhausted from playing during this month of Ramadan. Still I keep on going and do what I can to win, as whenever I step on the court I don’t intend to merely play but to win (and most of the time that is the case).

So post-work I took care of a few errands and then I went back to my apartment to get some sleep. It was absolutely glorious! I am a fan https://wordpress.com/post/20151363/newof naps, and yet there are times where I hit the snooze button on my alarm because I do not want to get out of bed…but I have to, things need to get done including time for prayer and breaking the fast.

It is good to nap, to catch up with sleep and perhaps therein get some rest. I don’t nap often, but when I do I always feel better for it. The human body needs sleep to survive, it’s kind of sad and worrisome when I see my coworkers go through the days tired as can be and they trick themselves into thinking all they need is some caffeinated and they’ll be good to go. It helps, but only on the most temporal of levels, a good night’s sleep is what the body truly needs and caffeine only works to a certain extent.

So with all that being said, sleeping was my keyword on this 8th day of Ramadan. Thanks me to God, The Provider of Sleep, giving us a reprieve from life in order to recharge our batteries. May we always be thankful for the sleep we receive and strive to give ourselves space to get more if we’re able to do so.

Salaam alaikum be yours now and always,
Nathanael

Cleaning as a spiritual exercise; day 7 of Ramadan

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“As you live deeper in the heart, the mirror gets clearer and cleaner” – Rumi
“Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil” – Isaiah 1:16

Day 7 of Ramadan and this fast is proving to be quite a useful spiritual practice in and of itself, but today I found myself in a place where I did a lot of cleaning. Upon getting off of work this afternoon I examined my apartment and I realized that it was in disarray; not that it’s one giant mess, but admittedly I have let some of it go where I probably shouldn’t have.

So with that in mind I started cleaning up my townhouse quite a bit. I worked diligently all the while listening to the tunes of Serj Tankian, Neon Indian, and Com Truise. When all was said and done, I was proud of my accomplishments in such a short period of time. I smiled at my work with a nod and wink to God and a mouthed “it is good” at seeing the progress made of a good cleaning.
I think that’s how God reacts when she lends her hand in the cleaning process; that progress is made and things are better than they once were. I am thankful to God that she lets us partake in the cleaning process as well, in making the world a better place for everyone. The world is being cleaned and being pushed further and further in a better direction, and as the writer of the poem wrote in the creation narrative of Genesis 1 in the Bible, it is good! God never removed that statement from the earth although it’s understandable why sometimes it might not seem that way, but that’s why we should press forward in being good stewards of our world!

So with all that being said, cleaning was my keyword on this 7th day of Ramadan. Thanks me to God, The Master Cleaner, making this world a better place and inviting for all of us to take part in it. We help heal this world, this pale blue dot, every time we clean it up to the best of our abilities. May we continue to clean up where we can when we can, for our sakes as well as the sakes of others!

Salaam alaikum be yours now and always,
Nathanael

Morning meditation 6.24.15

Morning meditation 6.24.15

The church does a lot of good in the world, but bone thing the church has been doing wrong for some time is sowing seeds of fear; Islamophobia, homophobia, yogaphobia, et al. If you’re able to scare the masses you’ll be able to keep them in check and have them coming back for more out of fear.

But Jesus & the message of the Gospel is not one of fear, rather of love and grace and faith and trust and belief all rolled into one.

I can’t sway others to think differently, only the Holy Spirit can do that (and trust me, she does a damn good job at doing that). But even if you turn a deaf ear to her promptings, consider the following Bible verse;
2 Timothy 1:7 – For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

Where there is fear, there is an absence of God’s love. You can continue operating out of fear or turn to the source of love, the choice is and always has been yours.

– Nathanael –

Feeding those who are hungry as a spiritual exercise; day 6 of Ramadan

Be kind to parents, and the near kinsman, and to orphans, and to the needy, and to the neighbor who is of kin, and to the neighbor who is a stranger, and to the companion at your side, and to the traveler, and to [slaves] that your right hands own. Surely God loves not the proud and boastful such as are niggardly, and bid other men to be niggardly, and themselves conceal the bounty that God has given them. Qur’an 4.36-37

If there is among you a poor man, one of your brethren, in any of your towns within your land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother, but you shall open your hand to him, and lend him sufficient for his need, whatever it may be…. You shall give to him freely, and your heart shall not be grudging when you give to him; because for this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. For the poor will never cease out of the land; therefore I command you, You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and the poor, in the land. Deuteronomy 15:7-11

Day 6 of Ramadan’s Suhur was good. I made myself a garlic, zucchini, and egg combination that I put in a flour tortilla that was awesome / healthy / and was a good source of protein! I enjoyed watching the sunrise yet again (it doesn’t get boring to me in the slightest!) and then I got ready for work.
Work was good, it zipped by in the best of ways; I walked quite a bit with my students and I also helped out in the garden. Speaking of the garden, I absolutely love seeing gardens growing flowers and food. In the garden at my work we have some swiss chard, green peppers, red peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, onions, and green beans! I slightly salivated at the things growing that are so healthy and nutritious…but since I’m fasting, I just offered up a quick thanks to God for food and watching it grow.

After work I took some time to meditate and reflect on the nearing first week of Ramadan. I am not as hungry as I thought I would be in partaking in Ramadan, despite having meals spread apart by 15.5 hours (at least). This time of fasting has helped me at becoming more in tune with God, others, and myself. At times because of the clarity of it all I have a bit of sensory overload; colors appear to be brighter, sounds clearer and a bit louder, etc. It has been a worthwhile goal and has served me well thus far.

This evening I joined several guys I know for a night of helping prepare meals that we measure out, seal, box, and prepare to be sent out across the world! Feed My Starving Children is an awesome tangible way in which to feed children around the world.

It was great and I was psyched to be a part of the process. I’ve done this event before with these guys and I dig every moment of it. My goal for the night was to work hard but play hard too; the latter came in the form of me yelling / motivating those around me as well as the guys I was with, I may have been a bit over the top but it was all worthwhile.

It was encouraging to me to see a lot of young children helping out as well. Social Justice, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, listening and being with people is what I like to do. Not necessarily in times that qualify as “spare time” but whenever I can wherever I’m at, because in doing so I serve God when I serve my fellow human being.

The hour and a half that we were there went by very quickly as it often does. We cleaned up, prayed over the food we were sending and for the receipients of said food, and we were done. Next time at Feed My Starving Children can’t get here soon enough!

So with all that being said, feeding those who are hungry were my keywords on this 6th day of Ramadan. Thanks me to God for providing us with food. May we learn to share what we have with our brothers and sisters who are in need because we DO have abundance and we should be willing to feed those who are in need. Thank you for our daily bread, and thank you for life to serve you and tend to the needs of others.

Salaam alaikum be yours now and always,
Nathanael

Walking as a spiritual exercise; day 5 of Ramadan

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Day 5 of Ramadan’s Suhur was great! A protein shake, fresh fruit, God & I, the sunrise. I proceeded to get ready for my day of work, as it so happened my students were back in the classroom because the summer term had started.

The teacher I work under unpackaged to my students what the summer term would look like, and I already see that it’s going to be a great time of learning and having fun! One of the things I appreciate doing with my students outside of the classroom apart from the usual basketball / softball, and as of late Frisbee, is walking. It’s very enjoyable to go outside with my students to walk. Sometimes our walking is done over talking; they like to pick my mind, I like to listen, they like to find out more about me, and I like to find out more about them and their dreams and aspirations beyond school.

It so happened that one of my students wanted to go walking, and I was more than willing to go on a walk with him. Our conversations were sparse, he wanted to get out and be and I admit, so did I. But there’s something to be said about non-verbal communication and presence; it’s very important and can be very helpful ton one’s self to delve into one’s own psyche for a while.

I know I will have more opportunities to walk with my students, and sometimes it’ll be like the other day where it was quiet for the most part, but there will be days when the conversation is verbal and continuous. I embrace it all and celebrate in the fact that I am among the living, doing what I can to be the best version of me and being present mind / body / soul in a job in the field that I am. It isn’t always easy, but I know God will sustain me as I help others out to the best of my abililty.

So with all that being said, walking was my keyword on the 5th day of Ramadan. Thanks me to God for being present as we walk through this life. For we are all interconnected to God inasmuch as we are interconnected with one another. May we learn to walk through this life together in solidarity with one another.

Salaam alaikum be yours now and always,
Nathanael