Tuesday, November 07, 2006

strengthen your body’s tie to your spirit through fasting

We often live very compartmentalized lives. We go to church to do spiritual things. We go to school to learn. We work at work. We work out at the gym. We sit on the couch to watch TV. We sit at coffee to chat with a friend. Sometimes my body does it while my mind and my spirit are not engaged. Often my mind does stuff while my spirit and body do nothing. But perhaps the situation that happens least is when my spirit is engaged and my body and mind are either quiet or in compliance.

There are some hazards to living with one’s being all diced apart like that. The body does stuff the mind and spirit never gave it permission to do. The mind thinks things disconnected from the spirit etc. Yet when one fasts, there are ways of fasting that cause your body to listen to your spirit. And it’s not through fighting with the image of a cheeseburger in your head. Instead, as the hunger-pangs hit you, it is as though your body is a desert of dry bones longing, longing, longing... longing for the spirit to fill the wind and bring nourishment to your soul. The hungrier one gets the deeper your spirit longs—as though your entire being is buried in longing—longing for God. Being hungry is only a symptom of lack of sustainance. Perhaps we should all be hungry with longing until the sustenance arrives. Yet what sort of sustainance are we talking about.

I’ve been noticing the food and hunger themes in my life. In my dreams, I often find myself at banquets and church picnics where there is no food. I am hunting for food in dangerous places. I am often hungry for something but I can't discern what it is. I go to the grocery store and look at everything and I don’t want any of it. I planted a garden this summer but was too busy to harvest it. I am thirsty and I drink water but it never seems to satisfy completely. I come home to an empty house. I make dinner. I sit down to eat it at the kitchen table and I don’t feel like eating it because I am alone. Conversely, I go to my parents’ house and immediately head to the kitchen to talk to my mom as I open the refrigerator. There I eat at the kitchen table with my family and I am satisfied.


Anonymous said...

I found some beautiful references about fasting from the Bible:
St. Matthew 4
1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

2 And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungred.

3 And when the tempter came to him, he said, If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.

4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

...and the Qur'an

Chapter 2

verse 183
PICKTHAL: O ye who believe! Fasting is prescribed for you, even as it was prescribed for those before you, that ye may ward off (evil);

verse 184
PICKTHAL: (Fast) a certain number of days; and (for) him who is sick among you, or on a journey, (the same) number of other days; and for those who can afford it there is a ransom: the feeding of a man in need - but whoso doeth good of his own accord, it is better for him: and that ye fast is better for you if ye did but know -

verse 185
PICKTHAL: The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong). And whosoever of you is present, let him fast the month, and whosoever of you is sick or on a journey, (let him fast the same) number of other days. Allah desireth for you ease; He desireth not hardship for you; and (He desireth) that ye should complete the period, and that ye should magnify Allah for having guided you, and that peradventure ye may be thankful.

verse 186
PICKTHAL: And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright.

Isn't fasting beautiful, in the spiritual context?

PeacefulLady said...

Interesting thoughts on spirit, soul, body. I am fascinated by the subject. I noticed a couple times this past yr I was crying and my mind had no idea why. I assume my spirit was crying.. Thanks for the reminder of the effect of fasting on the body-spirit link.I want to think more about the longings aspect. I'd enjoy discussing more about spirit/soul,body through email. Message me on my site if/when interested.

espíritu paz said...

I've read parts of the Quran, since a neighbor of mine gave me one. Intresting that the Bible and Quran have such similar spiritual practices. I attribute it to The God of Isaq and Ishmael being the same God way back when Abraham walked the earth, hence, it's not a surprise that the God of either is now revealed in similar ways. I know Muslim friends who consider themselves Muslim: followers of Isa. They don't believe their "God" changed or was a different God. I don't know enough to make a good judgement about it but I find it facinating. I find the Muslim people groups fascinating as well. I think they might be my next people group to encounter.

Peaceful lady,
I too find the interrelating of the body spirit and mind and soul perhaps an intresting topic. It sounds like you would also find the topic of "types of knowing" interesting as well. For instance--one can know facts with the mind, one can "know with the heart" which is a more emotional and relational sort of knowing. And also one can know with the spirit.
I'll post on your site once I find my Xanga password. :)

Anonymous said...


Stop it right here right now please.

I hope you're not getting some weird kind of kick out of it. In any case I'm not enjoying it anymore. Should it be necessary I will not only stop reading your blog but all blogs. You will be booted from IRC next time.

Please don't make me say things to end any longing for once and all. I will if I have to.


Peter said...
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Peter said...
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