As spring begins with its eclectic mix of rainy and sunny days, so does the month of Ramadan in 2023. On a nice sunny afternoon, Istanbul&I held its ÇayTalks event with the topic of "Fasting and Spirituality". The event was held in the office, and was attended by 9 eager attendees looking to discuss the topic. How do fasting and spirituality go together? That's what this event, led by our volunteers Wisdom and Zohra, aimed to discuss.
One by one, the attendees came in, signing their attendance form and getting to know one another. They were divided into two tables, each led by a moderator or two. The atmosphere was different from previous events as this one was on the start of Ramadan. Participants went around the table introducing themselves one after another. With each table flanked with folks of different backgrounds, both professional and spiritual, the discussion kicked off. Among the questions, the connection of the two concepts were discussed, with questions such as "how to grow spiritually through fasting", or "what is an example of spiritual fasting". The latter of which brought forth many examples of different schools of spiritual practices and faiths. There were many examples given, like silent fasts, or even the idea of a "social media fasting". One most curious example was the “Three-Day Fast”, wherein those that partake fast for three days straight, only drinking water. Looking at the different variations on the concept of fasting was indeed interesting, but then it begged the question. Realistically, how long can one fast safely? Which took a few detours as all the previously discussed "fasts" had to be taken into question! Clearly, the topic was engaging, as the conversation flowed with no signs of stopping until the break period. After a quick 10-minute break, the conversation continued on "how fasting makes one feel?". Here, the attendees brought forth their personal experiences with the practice and how it affected them mentally and physically. Once the attendees had run through their questions, there was some room for free discussions. With Iftar drawing nearer and nearer, the conversation naturally ended with food.
As our ÇayTalks officer remarked at the end of the event, everyone had a smile on their face. There was an air of spirited discussion and engaging conversations circulating around the room. Be on the lookout for future ÇayTalks events, as we hold them twice a month.