Though I’m not tremendously religious, I’ve been known to fast at Easter time. This year I decided to do a spiritual fast again and so far, it’s been very insightful. What I’ve noticed in the past is just how greedy some people can be and how much people take luxuries for granted. Just the other day I had lunch in a place where a buffet was available. As I sat writing and mainly drinking coffee, I couldn’t help but stare at the stacks of food people were piling onto their plates. There was enough food to feed an entire village of poor people but instead it was feeding a small group of hungry vultures. I didn’t even get the urge to splurge and stuff my face, instead I just lost my appetite.
I think that fasting is a great way to discipline oneself and realise how fortunate we are to have food and water, some are not as fortunate. Although I’m on a good wage and live in a nice flat, I am still very grateful for what I have and realise that one day it could all change and I could have nothing. When I’ve had nothing in the past, I’ve wanted nothing except love and happiness. Sometimes I feel that people spend money or eat and drink just for the sake of it and because they have the means. I don’t want to change and follow the crowd, I walk at my own rhythm.
A memory from a few years ago when I first moved to China often springs to mind. I was due to be paid in the New Year but due to a banking problem, my salary didn’t go through. Unfortunately, my UK bank card, which was my only source of funds, had expired on New Year’s Eve. Given the fact that it was the New Year holiday, the company was closed so I had no way of getting my salary until the office reopened. Therefore, I had approximately £1 to live off! During that time, I realised that I was able to survive; I was able to eat, drink and appreciate life. What I noticed around me were people with paper cups of coffee, food and bags bulging with shopping. It didn’t make me envious or hungry, if anything it just showed me the amount of unnecessary human consumption in the world. I felt like some of the poor people I walked past who had smiles on their faces and looked content. What I realised is that money sure doesn’t buy happiness and in fact not having money made me feel really carefree. I noticed things around me more and appreciated life. I’ll never forget that experience, it remains with me and I often refer to it.
Fasting can be done for health or spiritual reasons. Spiritual fasting cleans the body and mind and feeds the spirit. Fasting increases energy and extends life. I can personally recommend it to anyone wishing to detoxify the body and mind; it’s worked wonders for me anyway.