Fasting

To those of you who do this... What is the purpose?

Johns post on another thread, and my own curiosity about these type of things, like chastity.... sparked this thought. What is the purpose of depriving your body of physical needs to 'enhance' (may be the wrong term) your spirituality or relationship with God?

I have fasted, but it was always due to an emotional state. Usually depression and I wasn't aware that I was hurting myself till someone noticed and told me. But during those times, hunger, sex, sleep.... none of those physical needs even entered my mind.

Do you think that depriving your body of these things brings some sort of enlightenment?

You are depriving yourself of the very thing that brings life, letting God know how powerful your need is...it's a form of prayer when you can't. You also are in some ways empathizing with the hurt and broken...finally, you also can also use that time to pray and read the bible...God honors fasting...

I see no point in it... You can feel empathy for hungry people without starving yourself...

In Orthodoxy it is part of your training to get to a state where man was before the fall. Its about telling the flesh, which can also mean passions and desires, no! If you think of an obese person they are a glaring example of the flesh being the ruling principle in their lives. But everybody has this struggle. Its not that food is bad, but rather being controlled by your appetite is. Children of God operate from their nous first and then the lower soul and body are subject to the rule of the nous. That is how God intended man to live and be and after the fall things got mixed up and turned around.

So its important to note that Christianity is not anti-body like gnostics or platonists. It is very pro-matter but the body can't be in charge. Its backwards like a society where children rule adults.

Yuki, when I fast I let every hunger pain remind me that I am fasting, and begin to pray. Everytime I would normally be eating I read the bible, and or pray. Same for meal preparations. It is also a great way to let your body know that it isn't in charge anymore.

rev

It is very pro-matter but the body can't be in charge.

It is also a great way to let your body know that it isn't in charge anymore.

I gotcha. Thanks.

When you guys fast, is it a part of your religious 'routine' or is it done when there is something unusual in your life (a crisis maybe)?

 

both, I fast occasionally as part of the routine, and other times I do it for a special purpose.

rev

"It is also a great way to let your body know that it isn't in charge anymore. " Why would you want to do this?

because the desires of your body aren't always the best thing for you, that is why we learn discipline.

rev

"It is also a great way to let your body know that it isn't in charge anymore. " Why would you want to do this?

I think it's like training. Your body tells you that it is distressed by the cramps, fatigue... ect.

But when I was training, I never let physical distress keep me from training more.

Actually, physical distress is a big part of being a martial artist/fighter.

Maybe I'm drawing a completely wrong correlation here..... 

Fasting brings you closer to God by relying on him and not food or whatever you're fasting. It builds your spiritual walk.

there are many different types of fasting. The reasons have already been
addressed.

I do not set a regular time to fast and the person fasting can call it off at
anytime. Starting tomorrow I will be removing myself from the internet for
two weeks...to spend the time praying and reading scripture

I hope it is an enlightening, relaxing, and blessed two weeks for you.

Hmmm, maybe I can give a different perpective. I'm a Jew and I fast on the Jewish fast days like Yom Kipur. Jewish fasts are no food, no water fasts and most last from Sunset to Sunset (Some are sunrise to sunset).

I'm not very religious and I do not fast for religios reasons. For me it is an act of solidarity with other Jews and remembrance of Jewish suffering. I think it helps me better realize the pain and suffering, it helps me remember my great grandparents (Granddad was a Soviet soldier in WW2, was captured by germans, put in a camp, escaped, etc..crazy life. Grandma was a front line field nurse), and helps me reconect with my Jewish identity. Not eating and drinking for a day does make you a bit more spiritual though.

nice post kot1k!

thanks.

I'm not very religious and I do not fast for religios reasons. For me it is an act of solidarity with other Jews and remembrance of Jewish suffering

I think you are more 'religious' than you think brother.

 

From The Gospel According to Spiritism, by Allan Kardec:

LOOK AFTER BOTH BODY AND SPIRIT

  1. Does spiritual perfection depend on the mortification of the body? In order to resolve this question I will base myself on elementary principles and begin by demonstrating the need to take care of the body, which according to the alternatives of health and sickness, has a very important influence upon the soul, because we must consider it to be a prisoner of the flesh. So that this prisoner can live, move itself, and even have an illusion of liberty, the body must be sound, of good disposition, and be vigorous. Let us then make a comparison. Let us suppose that both are in perfect condition; what should be done to maintain the balance between their aptitudes and their necessities, which are so very different?

In this case two systems are confronting each other: that of the ascetics who wish to bring down the body, and that of the materialists who wish to diminish the soul. Two forms of violence, each one almost as foolish as the other. Alongside these two great parties seethe the indifferent multitudes who, without either conviction or passion, love with tepidness and are economic with their pleasure. Where then is wisdom? Where then is the science of living? Nowhere at all! And this great problem would still remain to be solved if Spiritism had not come to help the researchers and demonstrate to them the relationship which exists between the body and the soul, and to tell them that as they are both reciprocally necessary, it is indispensable that both are looked after.

So then, love your soul and also look after your body which is the instrument of the soul. To pay no attention to these needs, which Nature itself indicates, is to ignore God's laws. Do not castigate your body due to failings which your free-will can induce you to commit, and for which it is just as responsible as is the badly driven horse for the accidents it causes. Perchance, will you be more perfect if by tormenting your body you do not become less selfish, less prideful and more charitable towards your neighbours? No, perfection is not to be found in this manner, but exclusively in the reformation to which you submit your Spirit. Discipline it, subjugate it and mortify it; this is the way to make it more docile to God's will, and is the one and only way which leads to perfection - GEORGES, a Protecting Spirit (Paris, 1863).

I'm not quite sure I understand that Donna.

Sorry....

Would you give me your take on that?

Spiritism teaches that the body is a prison.  When you reach enlightenment you will no longer be trapped on the material plane.  Yet another reason why Spiritism is very different from mainstream, orthodox Christianity.

Not sure if I can explain that better, Yuki.

Later this coming weekend.