When you hear or read the word fast (in relation to food), what immediately comes to mind? If you had mentioned the word fasting to me a couple of years ago, I would have instantly thought of one or more days without food and/or water. The word fasting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fasting) for me has always been from a religious context. And since I consider myself spiritual and not religious the word did not resonate with me. Even though I have friends with various faith beliefs, and I have a ton of respect for the vast majority of religions, doing a fast myself (http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/adding-fasting-to-your-prayer-life.html) is something I never considered doing until recently.
In the past few years I’ve done a wide variety of personal and spiritual development courses. At times in those courses the topic of fasting came up, sometimes in a brief way and other times in a more thorough discussion. The seed of fasting was planted many times and started to germinate for me in the past few months. This sprouting for me occurred after having discussions with people I know who fast. I asked them why they fast and what results/lessons they obtain while fasting and afterwards.
Some of the people I know who fast are very religious while others are spiritual and not part of any formal religion. Regardless of the reasons why they fast, the variety of results and lessons people realize from doing so are sometimes the same. The following words were common among the fasting people I know who are both faith-based and non faith-based: grateful, present, focus, and mindful.
What my fasting day looks like:
1. Nearly first thing in the morning I take a variety of natural supplements and vitamins washed down by a natural health beverage with over ninety verifiable nutrients
2. I do not eat any breakfast, lunch or snacks until supper time
3. I do not drink any water or anything else (besides the aforementioned one beverage) until supper time
4. I eat supper
The fast that I do may not be considered a true fast (http://www.nerdfitness.com/blog/2013/08/06/a-beginners-guide-to-intermittent-fasting/) by some people and I’m totally okay with that. Some would state that a true fast does not include any water and/or supplements or vitamins.
Why do I fast?
The main reason that I fast is to focus on gratitude. I do my best to live with an attitude of gratitude, and fasting honestly amplifies this for me. Fasting reminds me of how grateful I am to live in a country where a wide variety of food is always available. It highlights how grateful I am to have a fridge to put the food in. How grateful I am to have farmers to grow the food for me. And that I have money to buy food. Self-discipline is something that has been getting better for me over the past few years, and fasting provides this for me. Fasting also makes me even more present. When my stomach is growling and my predominant thought is that of being hungry, fasting forces me to truly focus on the task at hand or the conversation that I’m having with someone. As a direct result, both my ability to concentrate and to be present are also amplified both during and after fasting. Enjoying supper after not eating earlier that day makes me incredibly mindful of what I’m eating. I savour the food and find I do not take it for granted while eating. “At its core, fasting is discipline of broadening and strengthening, not withholding and waning. It is exercise for our spiritual muscle.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nikhil-bumb/why-even-the-nonreligious_b_3897268.html) While discussing fasting in one course I recently took, it was stated that the Universe (or God, Buddha, or whichever faith you believe in) “hooks you up” after doing a fast. What that means is that more opportunities come your way. I definitely experienced that during and after the first fast I did that was on December 6, 2013. I had some fantastic experiences both that day and the next. Many good “synchronicites” (some would say random events) happened. I did another fast on January 6, 2014. I will continue doing so on the 6th of every month for all of 2014. Future blog posts will document my experiences the day of fasting and the day after for Dec 6/13, Jan 6/14 and other days moving forward.
Have you ever fasted?
If yes, what was your experience doing so and afterwards?