We can be attentive towards a task for an hour, two hours perhaps, but how long can we actually employ our total nervous system to being aware?
Philosopher Paul Virilio in The Aesthetics of Disappearance, writes, "The lapse occurs frequently at breakfast and the cup dropped and overturned on the table is its well-known consequence. The absence lasts a few seconds; its beginning and its end are sudden. The senses function, but are nevertheless closed to external impressions. The return being just as sudden as the departure, the arrested word and action are picked up again where they have been interrupted. Conscious time comes together again automatically, forming a continuous time without apparent breaks. For these absences, which can be quite numerous - hundreds every day most often pass completely unnoticed by others around." Virilio calls these moments picnolepsy (from the Greek, picnos: freuqent). What happens to this ammassed wealth of lost time? "For the picnoleptic, nothing really has happened, the missing time never existed. At each crisis, without realising it, a little of his or her life simply escaped.
Who are the picnopletics? We are the picnopletics. A morning drive to work, we lower the window to buy a newspaper, we see a child with pure diarrhea squeezing out her guts in the middle of the street. We think for a second, "terrible." But then we forget. There is no awareness. Maybe we remember again. But again without awareness. Why not? What keeps us from being aware from the soul - that little girl is me. Being aware from the mind - where are public toilets, where is affordable public housing, what made her migrate to the city to live on the street? Being aware with the body - organising self and others to address this serious human right, health and sanitary issue. Instead, a voice reminds us to think of something else - that trip, that task, that responsibility that suddenly seems too heavy. The voice may further say, "These filthy people are ruining the country."
We are picnopletics when we have not fully mastered our sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Instead, other forces control us. Just know this, if you are not in control of your atomic mind, someone else is. This Ramadan let us walk towards total awareness.
Mind Find ways to relax your mind. Mohammed (PBUH) meditated and encouraged namaz, alone and in community. Through meditation try to know yourself. What are your secret and not so secret beliefs, which ones empower you and which ones tear you and others down? Mohammed (PBUH) witnessed mass female infanticide in pre-Islam Arabia. He and Khadija refused to be picnopletics. What are the injustices in our communities now? Predatory lending, gender abuse, hoarding, greed, massive income inequality, rigged economy and rigged food system to support picnopleticism.
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Body Clean your body. Mohammad (PBUH) shared with Khadija that the Angel Gabriel cleaned his intestines (solar plexus, pancreas) and his heart (thymus). Take the initiative to do this for yourself. Stop eating processed foods. For this month of Ramadan, do you think you can just have a green salad for Iftar with plenty of water? Do you think you can have just a salad for sehri with plenty of water? It is so, so difficult but how much longer can we afford to be picnopletics? If you can do this for just one week, you will see, be alarmed at just how little food we really need and how abundant our Earth is. What abundance Allah has bestowed upon us. Sadaq Allahul-alliyul-Azeem
pragmatically, in order to connect your glands, you need proper circulation between your sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Your intestinal plaque accumulated over the years can prevent this flow of circulation. The heavy, acidic foods, a list which I will share with you again and again this Ramadan, can prevent clean blood and oxygen for the brain. To cleanse your solar plexus (pancreas), which is critical for digestion and blood sugar regulation, once again, eliminate junk food and drink plenty of water, ginger tea and remember to relax through namaz, especially starting your day with Fajr namaz. To clean you heart, focus on detoxing your thymus gland through fresh green salads and avoiding heavy stimulants such as cigarettes, coffee and alcohol (this is important for total granular health).
Soul I am sure you do this already, so continue to do this. Don't eat iftar alone. There was a time when we would and could, without fear, invite strangers into our home to share iftar. Can we return to this time? In seeking to connect with ourselves (our glands, chakras), in wanting to reach Allah, our deepest memories of love, trust and forgiveness will be our grace and strength.