As promised, I have begun a new spiritual adventure. I am currently 12 hours in to my very first fast.
For those that don't know, a fast is simple a length of time where a person chooses not to eat. There are many reasons that people choose to fast, but generally they fall into two categories: Health & Spiritual.
Health- There are many health benefits to fasting, in fact our bodies are made to periodically fast. Many cultures consider short fasts to be a part of a healthy lifestyle. The general idea is that you give your body a break from digestion (where most of your daily calories are burnt), allowing it to focus on other ailing areas. People have experienced wonderful benefits including release from depression, cured digestive ailments, and many chronic diseases. Allowing your body to heal itself is as natural as it gets.
Spiritual- Everyone from Christians to Buddhists participate in fasts. Jesus himself was known to fast. Perhaps his most famous was the 40-day fast prior to his three year mission. This is where the 40 days and 40 nights of sacrifice for God comes from. Buddhist monks routinely practice fasting as well as Islamic people, Native Americans, and of course, Taoist and Zen practitioners as well. Fasting provides a time of mental clarity where meditations are deeper (some feel closer to God) and self-discovery.
For me, the reasons are all of the above. I am hoping to become a regular faster (once a month or year depending on length), but I know I must start small. My goal for this fast is 36 hours. I am following proper fasting procedure, eating only fresh fruit before and after the fast to aid the transition. They say that the first 12 hours is the hardest, so I purposely put those hours during sleep, and so far so good. I'm having some hunger pains, but nothing unmanageable.
I will not be posting anything about my fast anywhere but here, as advised by my books, because people do not understand fasting, and it's easier for me to not have to defend against misunderstanding during the fast. But please know that fasting is COMPLETELY different from starvation. I am in a controlled and unstressful environment. I will not develop Anorexia which is noted by a distorted body image (I'm perfectly aware of the actual shape of my body). But most importantly, if done right, fasting is not dangerous. My body will be better off, not damaged by this practice.
I will try to report again either late tonight or tomorrow with any revelations that may come my way during my fast. I hope to try different kinds of fasts and different kinds of meditations while fasting and report back here.
Wish me luck :)