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 of courage to let go of all that wanting, to let go of our comfort zone through eating.
So long as we are engaged with that struggle with ourselves and our egos, engaging in spiritual practice is next to impossible. While fasting, it’s easy to think that we ‘should’ be feeling closer to God, that we ‘should’ be happily meditating or praying, but the truth is that often the opposite is the case. We can feel far removed from God, and the idea of meditating or praying can create mountains of resistance inside us.
The beautiful irony, though, is that when we finally do let go of our comfort zone and truly surrender to the fast, we find that the love we crave is already there within us: within our own soul, one with the universe and God. Just as food is for the physical body, this love is the elixir of life for our spiritual ‘body’.
Until we reach a point in the fast of surrendering our ego, it’s easy to feel down or inadequate, to feel guilt or even self-hate. Instead, please, please try and be kind to yourself. We’re all only human. Even if you never reach the point of fully surrendering yourself to your fast, it was your spirit, your soul, your innermost Self which called you to fast in the first place. Sometimes it takes time for the clouds to clear and for the sun to shine. So stick at it! Sooner or later you will feel the warmth of golden rays on your face.
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