Monday, 1 August 2011

it's ramadan

ramadan has started and today was my first day of fasting. it didn't go too badly, and of course having the short days of winter makes it much easier.

i haven't any motivation this year to match last year's feat of daily posts, possibly because i'm coming into the month with less energy and a whole mountain of work before me. i was hoping for a quiet month, but it's not working out that way. the next two weeks are full of meetings and events that i can't avoid, and then there's the diversity forum happening on 21 august.

i'm looking forward to the forum, there are a lot of good sessions organised. along with a preceding visit to turangawaewae marae, by invitation of the maori king. it's a special invitation for ethnic minority communities to comemorate the coronation. i think it's an important move, as i think it's very important for maori and other non-pacific ethnic communities to build strong links (i think the links are already there for pacific communities, given they have a history of being in nz in much greater numbers for some years). there are many issues that these communities have in common, and it can only help to be talking through some of those.

also bothering me today is the casual contempt that people show for others. i guess it's because of a few e-discussions i've been having, but not only that. i watch people being so quick to judge (or misjudge) others, without giving them the benefit of the doubt and attaching the most suspicious motives without any apparent evidence.

what is it about human beings that we are so quick to judge others? i can't say i'm immune from this disease - i've caught myself doing it many times, and every time i think i've learnt a lesson and will do better next time. but it's something that is so ingrained that often you don't even realise until you've done it.

one of my favourite things is a scholar who said that if you see someone doing something you think is wrong, try to make 70 excuses for their behaviour. and after trying 70 times, if you haven't come up with a reason, the think to yourself that must be yet some other reason for their behaviour that hasn't occurred to you. wouldn't it be wonderful if we could all live in a state of perpetual goodwill towards the people around us.

yes, i know, dreams are free. but it's ramadan, which means a time for me to reflect on the best of behaviour and to think about ways i can improve myself. it's a time to think of ideals and try to live up to them. knowing that i'm almost certain to fail, but that it's the effort and the self-awareness that are most important. ramadan mubarak to everyone.
and since i'm not going to commit to daily posts, i'll put links through to what i wrote last ramadan which was pretty universal. on the first day, i talked about education.

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