All posts filed under: Spirit and soul

Spiritual fasting in Lent (or any other time)

25th February, 2020 Tomorrow marks the beginning of what for many people is the most important time of the year in terms of spiritual fasting. For Christians, Lent constitutes the 40-day period prior to Easter, serving as a reminder of both Jesus’ 40-day fast in the desert as well as the final period of his life leading up to the crucifixion. It is a time for introspection and reflection on life. Whether or not you are a Christian, water fasting naturally supports this shift towards looking inside ourselves. By giving up food – the elixir of life for our physical body – we become able more naturally to identify with that deepest part of ourselves which has no need for physical sustenance: our spirit, our soul, our innermost Self. Reaching the point of opening up spiritually through fasting isn’t always easy. It requires surrender. Surrender not just of food, but also surrender of our ego which wants to eat the food, which wants to find comfort and love in food. It takes a huge amount …

Physical and spiritual cleansing: from fear to love

Does the thought of water fasting frighten you? It’s completely natural to feel fear before and even during your first few water fasts.  After all, unlike our ancestors, you’ve probably never gone without food for more than a few hours, let alone a few days.  Food is comfort.  Food is pleasure.  And yes, food is addiction.  Taking away food means taking away your emotional foundation.  It means living on your own two feet, without anything to lean on. Is it worth it? Absolutely!  Water fasting causes the deepest cleansing both physically to your body, as well as spiritually to your consciousness.  Nothing else can heal every cell of your being to the same degree. This isn’t always an easy process to begin with.  Just as the emotional tension of everyday life creates tension and pain in the physical body, the opposite also happens – and so the physical detoxification of a water fast can also catalyze an emotional detoxification, especially during your first few water fasts.  What does this mean?  Just as physical detoxification can …

Facing your ego

As important as any physical cleansing, water fasting also challenges you with emotional and spiritual blocks, bringing you face to face with your ego and fears.  In a way, your journey through water fasting mirrors the entire spiritual path: both within each fast, as well as from fast to fast over the years. One of the most important things in your spiritual development is how you relate to your ego.  By ego, I mean that aspect of yourself which feels isolated and alone in the universe, that aspect of yourself which tends to make judgements about everyone and everything you come into contact with.  (Yes, it’s the ‘me, me, me’ element of your being!) Either you like someone or you dislike them.  Either you want something or you don’t want it.  Buddhists call this the cycle of ‘attachment and aversion’.  By incessantly weighing up the world around you, you lose the ability simply to be: honestly accepting the world for how it is without the need to try to control it to your liking.  In …

Deeper states of consciousness

One of my favourite things to ‘do’ while water fasting is to find a spot in nature and simply sit, doing nothing, just being, staring out into the environment, remaining present and aware. Quickly, I become one with myself and the world around me. Time melts away… The experience of connection gives rise to the feeling of love… I love the way that water fasting affects consciousness. Beyond all the obvious physical benefits, it is precisely such changes to state of mind and being which, at least for me, make a fast something to look forward to. Water fasting offers you the opportunity to experience a simple state of being, much freer from the turbulent torrents of thought which characterise everyday life. Without your mind battering you with constant (and usually meaningless) mental chatter, your consciousness clears. It feels like a fog lifting from a landscape to reveal a spacious blue sky, under which the details of the landscape are revealed in all their beauty. There really is a tangible feeling of spaciousness: one spreading …

Who am I?

Many spiritual traditions encourage you to ask the question: ‘Who am I?’  Perhaps most famously, Ramana Maharshi taught that this is all you need to do in order to experience your true self and enlightenment.  Just keep asking yourself, honestly, from the depths of your heart, over and over again… Who am I?  Who am I? By delving into this question, you’ll inevitably end up drawing a blank.  For who you really are is hidden beneath innumerable masks: the roles and identities you’ve created and continue to create over the course of your life.  (Of course, these are the masks created by your ego.)  Consequently, the only things you’ll find are things you are not.  Is the essence of who you are, for instance, a mother?  A father?  Is it the you who spends all day at your workplace?  Or, on a deeper level, is it the you who is seeking who you are in the first place?  On the one hand, yes, all these roles do express certain aspects of yourself, but on the …