For the past 6 months, anytime I begin to type “am” in the search engine on my computer, the first place the engine brought up was my blog site. Today, the search tool “told on me” by quickly directly me to Amazon! Note to self: No excuses. Less Amazon shopping. More blogging.
Over the next few days, you will receive devotionals that I wrote for my yoga and sacred text class. They received one per week in coordination with the teaching on Sunday, but I will catch you up as we head into Holy Week.
May we connect to the holiness within and all around us.
Joel 2:12-13 Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.
Today, let’s focus on the bodily practice of fasting that holds special truth during this season of Lent. This may not be the part of the passage that you were drawn to, but stick with me! Fasting is used by all major religions as a cleansing ritual for personal use or for use in community life. Fasting to cleanse ourselves of sins and ask for forgiveness. Fasting to cleanse our lives of self-focus to promote greater awareness of others. Fasting to cleanse our time to bring us closer to God when a great decision needs to be made. Fasting is an internal practice with outward benefits. It rends the heart before personal transformation is visibly seen.
Fasting is unique to each person. Some people go on a cleanse which is a type of fasting. Other people give up chocolate or coffee for a period of time. Some people give up eating fast food and instead give the money they would have spent to a charity. No matter how you choose to fast, your body, mind and soul receive benefits.
Dr. Dean Ornish’s best seller Reversing Heart Disease talks about why we choose a fast from foods that we know are harmful to the body. He says, “Physically, eating in this new way can help you begin to open your heart’s arteries and to feel stronger and more energetic, freer of pain. Emotionally, it can help you open your heart to others and to experience greater happiness, intimacy, and love in your relationships. Spiritually, it can help you open your heart to a higher force and to rediscover your inner sources of peace and joy.”
When we abstain from food or from certain foods, we open the body to release emotions. We store emotions in our body and fasting offers us an opportunity to uncover those emotions. How many of us have felt sad or depressed, unloved or angry when we have committed to a fast?
What if these feelings are an invitation to connect deeper to your unmet needs in other areas of life?
Sometimes during a fast, we experience a surge of pure joy. This serves as a reminder that you can become aware of that emotion on a more regular basis by simply drawing inward.
In most religions, fasting is followed by feasting. Both are seen as equally sacred acts because they connect us to ourselves, each other and the divine. As we feast, lets think about these words:
Will Tuttle in his book, World Peace Diet, says,
“What is so simple as eating an apple? And yet, what could be more sacred or profound? When we eat an apple we are not just eating an apple as a separate thing. The apple enters us, dissolves within us, contributes to us and becomes us. . . We are eating of the rain and the clouds and of all the trees that have gone before to bring this tree into manifestations, and of the tears, sweat, bodies, and breaths of countless generations of animals, plants, and people that have become the rain and soil and wind that feed the apple tree.”