We are coming up on the last couple of hours of a two day fast that I have been doing and I thought…Why not write a blog about fasting? Now, if you are just on the internet in general or in touch with natural helpings, you’ve probably heard a lot about fasting or intermittent fasting and may even be doing some version of that yourself.
In this blog we’re talking about one of my favorite topics…something that bridges from the biological health realm into the spiritual realm. Fasting or intermittent fasting or a period of going without food. Sometimes going without food or water is something that has been done not just in health but also in spiritual practice across the world’s tradition.
Make Your Chi Happy!
Fasting during Ramadan, fasting for certain days, doing different things around withholding food and putting yourself into different psycho spiritual states in order to progress and change inwardly. So on a chi energetic level, chi or PR being the sort of internal vital energy, when you are not taking in food, your body can really get to those stacked up projects.
Don’t Procrastinate On Your Health
We all know this, we’re busy with everyday sort of things in our lives, doing the normal things for taking care of the kids, cooking the meals, laundry, dishes, all of the normal things that need to get done. And so we never quite get around to those bigger projects that we’ve just been aching to get out or we’re just like, “Well, I’ll do that when I retire.“
So your body is a little bit like that when you stop eating or just go onto fluids or things that don’t need a lot of digestion. Your chi’s like awesome, I don’t have to do the normal stuff that I’ve been doing of breaking down and digesting your food and getting its nutrients into the right place so I can actually do some renovation and restoration work. So just on a chi level, it’s very helpful for a lot of health things.
In that way it also takes us a little less out of the physical. It makes our chi not have to be available for all the physical things. And we can go more into this mind body space.
The Mind Body Connection
- Our minds and our bodies are connected. Remember, we are mind body being. It’s the whole point of having a mind body, what we go through in a body way can affect the mind. And definitely the things going on in our mind body system, our held beliefs, our trauma that’s trapped in the body will also affect our physiology. So by fasting, which is really a bridge method because the chi or the energy and biological processes of your body do double duty, they work in moving the physiological aspects of your body as well as the psychological and energetic.
So one of those affects the other. Anybody who’s ever done any fasting knows that it’s not just physical. There’s a big mental component. And challenging ourselves in that way is very beneficial.
Your Mind Versus Your Heart
- When you are fasting, you are really breaking your mind’s error, belief around survival and death. This might seem a little heavy, but bear with me, it’s your mind versus your heart. This is something that I really train in our Practical Spirituality training, which is happening this fall. We have the more heart or soul or mysterious connected to the great mystery part of ourselves.
We also have the sort of neck up logical brain. Now we don’t need to throw our mind and our intellect out with the bathwater, but we do want to acknowledge a cause for suffering in our life is the way that our mind likes to get control and think that it knows better.
But My Brain Wants To Survive!
One of the basic things that the mind clings to is our biological survival. We are wired for survival in many ways and food is one of those. So when you start fasting, it will bring up this mind error and attachment around safety. You will probably have to process the first time you go for an extended period of time without food, feelings about feeling unsafe or feeling like I’m going to die, or overwhelming sensations that come up. Your mind body system might bring up some other trauma that it’s linked to.
Loosen Your Grip On Survival
The mere fact of changing the way that you are eating will actually move you forward and bring some things out to the body mind. It could loosen that mind’s grip about survival mechanisms and what you need in a grasping type of way.
You will notice if you fast for several days, especially if you do it well, making sure you’re drinking enough of those nutrients that you need in terms of electrolyte balance, that you’ll notice that you don’t die.
Fasting Is Not For Everyone
Fasting for the most part is quite safe. Now this is not medical advice, nor am I doing anything that is approved or checked with the FDA. So if you have a medical condition, you’re pregnant, you have certain health conditions with your kidneys, you’re diabetic…there are situations in which fasting is not correct for you, but we’re dealing with the mental, emotional, psycho-spiritual, subtle body aspects of it.
Heal Yourself From Within
Fasting really starts to build your inner reliance. It helps you shift out of your everyday mind and function and a lot more of that chi can go and circulate on the inside. When I say more of that chi, I mean more of your attention, more of your biological resources that are taking a break from not having to rest and digest can actually learn and put you through a challenging place because it is challenging to fight over normal biological mechanisms. We have a certain hormone called growling that knows when we tend to eat and when we don’t. I often call them the gremlins because when you are changing or playing around with your food, with different diets or intermittent fasting, those gremlin grins know when it’s time to eat. You will get symptoms at certain types of the day.
So by fasting, you are bringing yourself to a challenge in which:
- You must rely on your inner self.
- You must regulate yourself in a new way.
- You must go through uncomfortable physical sensations and persist in that way.
And one might say that this is good spiritual training in learning to focus the mind, rely inwardly and connect with those parts of yourself to which nothing has ever happened. That spark of the divine, whether you call it the voice of the higher self or the heart, the part of ourselves which is infinite.
By affirming our body mind connection and fasting, you are breaking your mind’s habit on what you need to survive and to be okay. And by really building inner reliance, fasting can become a great health tool. And I encourage you to do a little Googling if you’ve never tried it.
Curious About Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a great place to start where you simply lengthen the time between dinner one night and eating the next day. In general, Jay and I do this on a regular basis where we try to eat dinner by like 4:35 and then we don’t eat until at least like 10 o’clock the next day.
So trying to add in 14 to 16 hours on a regular basis, will give you a lot of health benefits and the sort of inroads into the spiritual benefits of it. And then if you feel it’s right, if you and your health provider agree that it’s a good thing for you to do, start to do small amounts of longer fasting. It can also bring things out in your health and your inner world journey. I hope that’s helpful.
I am just about to break my fast. I asked my body what it wanted– which we go over in another tutorial on how to really let your body give you guidance.
Always Listen To Your Body
Yesterday I wasn’t sure whether I was going to do a one day fast or a two day fast, but I got to the end of the day and I asked my body and… “Nope, you’re not supposed to eat tonight.” I was like, “Okay, great.”
But coming down this afternoon when I was like, “Body, how do you feel if I eat dinner?” and it felt like, “Yeah.” So I’ll be doing that gently with some squash soup that Jay is whipping up now in the kitchen.
I hope you enjoyed this blog. I hope it was helpful. I hope it got your wheels thinking.
Is there a spiritual inner benefit that you’ve noticed from fasting? I’d love to know in the comments below.
Thanks so much.
Disclaimer: This program is not intended to be a substitute for professional mental health or counseling services. No practitioner-patient relationship is established and the training content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and nothing here is intended to diagnose, cure or treat any disorders.