Attempt On a Fasting Article

by barbarab

This article will describe not only an attempt to write a quality article about fasting but how difficult it is to fast with a spiritual goal in mind.

The Hard Work Required to Fast

How Difficult Can It Be?

Fasting is the act of restraint from food and or drink for a variety of reasons. Most of the time the reason is based on a religious decree, however, there are other times for which fasting is called. A
medical reason could be for specific blood tests. If you are diabetic or take a medication that requires a level be monitored, many times the blood test will be ordered as fasting. This means you may not take anything by mouth from midnight until after your test on the day it is ordered. Some people will fast in order to cleanse their body and lose weight; however, many find that as time
passes, this practice is no longer effective. This is due to a slowing of your metabolism as you age, making it not only more difficult to lose weight in general but by fasting specifically. Fasting is also done by many different cultures and religions as a way to gain inner strength and peace. It can be
used as a way to enlightenment, with the results being an experience that transcends the normal world. Another way it can be used, especially in our high-paced world, is as a way to separate ourselves from something that we crave, such as the cell phone, the computer or the television. Just putting away food and drink is not the only way to accomplish a spiritual connection.

How much work does it actually take to fast? Surely, all of us have skipped a meal or two without even noticing. It was done probably because we were too busy to notice the time or because we had a deadline to meet and felt we could not stop even long enough for a bite of food. So, fasting, in and of itself is done many different ways and sometimes unconsciously.

The work involved with this task takes discipline. Discipline is defined as "calm, ordered control" and this is a good definition to use for the act of not taking in something that gives the body pleasure. Surprisingly, it takes courage as well as hard work in order to achieve the best results of any kind during this ritual.

Have you ever participated in a religious fast?

Discipline and How it Pertains to Fasting.

As the definition states, discipline is a "calm, ordered control, and as pertains to this subject, that control is over the body and the mind. The mind will call up the desire to eat and drink, the outside world contributes to this by smells and sights of food and drink in abundance. How then, are you to be successful with your journey? First, set down exactly what you desire to accomplish by fasting. If it is for any reason other than a spiritual awakening, the reasons are self-explanatory.

Even then, if it is a vision, a specific prayer or to abide by a religious rule the answer may be ambiguous. That is why it is necessary to chronicle exactly what you have as a goal for this exercise. No matter whether the fast will be during only the daylight hours, for several days or longer, always know exactly what outcome is desired. Remember too, that the amount of time does not make a difference on what the outcome may be.

Many have heard of enlightenment journeys where the end result is a hallucinogenic episode that delivers exactly the answer that was expected. In reality, a spiritual awakening comes about slowly,
over time and only with a lot of hard work. If it were that easy to obtain spiritual perfection, many others would have done it before now. Go into this with your mind open, cleared of all debris from the everyday world and with the faith that you will succeed and you will receive an optimal experience.

Updated: 08/13/2011, barbarab
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barbarab on 08/13/2011

hello sheilamarie! Thank you adding that very informative view! As the title states this was an 'attempt' as I have never used fasting as a way to spiritual enlightenment. Your input is greatly appreciated!

sheilamarie on 08/13/2011

Regular fasting is part of my tradition. One of the main elements of the religious fast is not so much the religious decree as the practice of fasting as a community. I fast in solidarity with my fellow parishioners, for example, or with the whole Church. It is also done as a preparation for something -- the feast of Pascha (or Easter) and Christmas, as well as other feast days. Fasting is done as a cyclical practice, both in the yearly cycle and in the weekly cycle, and is never separated from extra prayer or from almsgiving, however that is understood. It also is followed by a feast in which everyone celebrates and "feasts" together, even those who fell short of the fast. No one is to be left out.

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