Fasting allows us to remember the joy of simplicity and the marvelous wonders right before our eyes.  Fasting also teaches our mind how to focus our awareness into a penetrating wisdom that seeks to know our inner-selves and the world around us.  Fasting is an ancient tradition used by cultures world-wide to clear the mind and still the body in order to receive deep inner wisdom.

Fasting is crucial in today’s society because it clears one’s palette.  We have become disconnected from food, as nourishment for our entire being, and many lack healthy eating habits.

“Man has transformed eating into something else.  Lack on the one hand and excess on the other have clouded the clarity of this basic need.  Similarly cloudy have become all the deep and simple human needs in which life renews itself.  But the individual can clarify them for oneself and can live that clarity – as long as one is not too dependent on others, as long as one has a pact with aloneness.”  ~ Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

Fasting is a pact with our aloneness.  When fasting, we become acutely aware of our inner-self, both body & mind, and we become aware of our mental reactions to challenges in life.  Perhaps we react to challenges by running away, or with aggression/anger, or by quitting. When fasting, these habitual reactions come quickly to the surface, allowing us to become thoughtful of our unhealthy habits and begin to untie their knotted threads.  And this pact with aloneness, this acute awareness of our inner-self, draws us into each present moment, we spend less energy worrying about the future and/or ruminating about the past.  We are present, to ourselves.

So why fast with community if fasting is a pact with aloneness?  For many reasons.  I’ll share two.  First, when we know others are sharing an experience we have more courage and commitment to complete the experience, even when it becomes very challenging. Second, our community (near & far) needs to reconnect our threads of community and this shared endeavor of thoughtfulness, stillness and fasting are healthy ways to weave new threads of community.  Change is desperately needed on our planet and change begins within each of us, in our aloneness, and as community.

Individuals as Community.  We are both.

Fasting also clears the palette-of-the-mind, once the mind is clear, awareness sharpens and penetrates into aspects of your life previously clouded by your desire, your passion and mostly, your will.  Fasting can be uncomfortable and challenging, yet fasting heightens our ability to seek the jewels that lie deep within us.  The jewel that most seek is the wisdom of the Heart.  Many confuse this mysterious wisdom with their desires…but the heart is the throne of wisdom.

“A clear heart is filled with the elixir of wisdom.”  ~ Rumi

If you are a relatively healthy person without ailments that are exacerbated by fasting, than fasting will generally clear your physical energies and boost brain power (search online: ‘fasting boosts brain power’ for more info).  If you’ve never experienced a fasting from foods, the first few can be a bit overwhelming, uncomfortable…and hungry!  So, let’s talk a bit about what you may experience on the physical level.  You may initially feel strong hunger sensations but these usually diminish in strength after a few hours, and depending on the chemistry of your intestines, you may experience fatigue, light-headedness, strong emotions, irritation, headache…oh my! why bother?!   Because these are only the outward sensations of healthy insides.

In the beginning, you may want to take part of the day off work and spend time quietly with your thoughtfulness.  With time, you will be able to work as usual and will not experience these uncomfortable physical sensations, you will simply find that your mind and body are quiet, calm and your ability to remain thoughtful increases vastly.

For information on how to enhance your experience of stillness & thoughtfulness, please visit the Vipassana website, which is the art of meditation I practice.

Fasting is also deeply spiritual.  Our ‘fasting the body from foods’ is an offering to all beings in need of loving kindness.  With a clear mind/body, we are able to offer loving kindness without attachment or desire, and in so doing we generate healthy vibrations.  You may read more on loving kindness, metta; and if you are in need of loving kindness from this community, please email (using the contact form) and ask for metta to be sent your way.  Your request may remain completely anonymous or you may share a small note.  For example, “Please send loving kindness my way” or “Shelly is struggling with depression and requests thoughts of loving kindness sent her way”…asking for loving kindness is a powerful aspect of learning to receive when we are in need.  I will share requests with our community on the Thursday when we fast each month.

If you are unsure about physical/medical issues in relation to fasting, please ask someone you trust concerning your physical/medical well-being, ask if your health allows for a 24 hour fast, safely.

{You are encouraged to experience the power of fasting on the first Thursday of each month.  Thoughtful Thursday includes a 24 hour fast (for those courageous and curious folk!), beginning at 7 pm the Wednesday evening before the first Thursday of the month, and continuing until 7 pm on the 1st Thursday.  Fasting is from foods only, drink plenty of water, preferably non-treated water. }

I wish you all luck, all blessings, and a million tinkling bells of honey around your heart!

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