Summer is a great time to fast. It feeds the soul and cleanses the body. This practice which has been common throughout cultures down through the ages has fallen out of use. But it’s being rediscovered for health benefits, as a way to detox, and as a means to explore one’s relationship to food and to one’s Self. Fasting traditionally means eliminating food for a given time period – half a day, a day or longer. For many years I fasted once a week as a way to clean out the body and give it a rest. It energized me and brought a sense of renewal. It also made me very aware of my relationship to food. Since food is easily available snacking was easy. But on the days I fasted, I observed my habitual urges to grab a coffee, pick up some chocolate or nibble some baguette. I noticed I wasn’t eating usually because of hunger, but out of habit.
On those days I usually kept silent, shut off the TV, tuned out the radio and Internet and remained with an inward focus. Sacred texts became my fare. Fasting was not only about not eating; it extended to what I consumed through my five senses. By cutting out newspapers, toxic news, unnecessary phone conversations and tweets, fasting brought me to an inner place of stillness. It slowed me down mentally and physically and moved the focus away from the material needs of the body and brought reflections on how to feed the soul.
A fast from food may not be right for everyone. If you choose to try it, it may be good to get some medical advice and learn more about the health benefits and whether it’s right for you. But almost everyone can benefit from a media/TV/Internet fast. If you dare, shut off the PC, tune out the radio and tune in to what’s going on inside of you. So often we become so caught up in the mental realms that we ignore our bodies and disconnect from our emotions; we stop nurturing our soul and the relationships that feed it. What soul vitamins do you need for spiritual health?
Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.