Even though my church did not require it, I participated in several of their fasts. In addition to that, I also held personal fasts in the past as a way to strengthen myself spiritually. When my church proved to be a place that was ill-equipped to provide me with what I need to continue on with my journey, I made the choice to turn my back on it. And as I turned my back on my church, I inadvertently and unknowingly turned my back on my fasts.
It’s just as well, fasting should never be practiced unless one has perfect clarity for its reasons. Unfortunately, for the past few years, this clarity has escaped me and I have taken a detour from my spiritual journey. It is probably no coincidence that in the years since my fasts were put on hold, I have grown into a person that, on occasion, I do not like. Even this morning, I thought to myself “I don’t think I can be friends with myself.”
Perhaps my lowest point came this past Christmas when I was completely bogged down with everything in my life. Over the past month, I have done much self-reflection and I came to realize that, among other things, I have become sullen, malicious and self-destructive over the years… at least by my own standards. Luckily, with this realization comes some house-cleaning. Because I have become aware of my current state, I have been able to purge certain things from my own life and I can move forward.
Moving forward for me requires that I fast. Starting this month, I am going to hold First Friday Fast to move me along on my journey to becoming who I want to be. More specifically, I’ll be doing it with the following things in mind: God; the sacrifices of others; and the understanding that in this life, I am but a mere speck of dust who is no better or worse than anyone else. I am fasting for humility and compassion. Ultimately, I hope to hold fasts that last for weeks. However, I understand the need to be careful that I am not fasting for repentance, forgiveness or for self-punishment. Once I realize that these thoughts and feelings have entered my heart, the fast will be put to a halt and will be resumed on the first friday of the next month.
These ritual fasts will first begin with some prayer and meditation either the night before or the morning of the first Friday of the month. To ensure that I’m doing this safely, I will first have liquid fasts allowing myself to drink water and juices, which will give me the energy to go about my day and my studies. I will also fast during the time when the sun is up. That is from sunrise to sunset, no piece of food will touch my mouth.
I will chronicle each fasting experience through here and I hope that in a year, I will be able to hold fasts for a couple of days a week. If anyone has any suggestions or would like to go through this experience with me, let me know.
This is going to be good.