NOTE: During this time of staying home more than usual, it may seem like too much to ask to add fasting in any form as a practice. However, you may find it a useful way to have a more mindful existence in a time when waiting for the next announcement is the norm. I hope you find this enlightening in some way.
From ancient discipline to modern trend.
Fasting, what we know as refraining from ingesting food, can seem overwhelming and annoying. Yet this ancient practice has many potential health benefits as well as a long history of promoting spiritual growth. When we refrain from consumption of any kind, we are emptying ourselves. Ultimately, if we stop indulging ourselves, we become more open to others. Consider ways to fast that may not involve food.
OVERINDULGENCE—Whatever we do too much, whether its eating, drinking or staring at a screen. I would have suggested less time withthe TV or social media, but in our current situation with social distancing, we need these connections more than ever. So, "fasting" becomes finding ways to use these tools that bring more meaning to our lives - reaching out to one another in comfort, making peace across the air waves. Consider cutting back on water usage or some thing that is a needless drain of time and energy. Fill the empty space with an activity aimed at helping someone else.
CONSUMPTION—We live in a world that always wants more. More food, more clothing, more wealth, more happiness. Say NO to the culture of consumption. Ask what you could live without for the period of Lent. It might be fast food, or the 24 hour cycle of news or compulsive purchases. Now is a good time to be more mindful of how we use our resources, what food we buy, what information we ingest and implement. Meditate on ways to use your resources for the good of many.
EATING—If you want to practice a more traditional fast, it can be very rewarding to follow a common ritual practiced by many religious groups. Fast from sundown to sundown, perhaps beginning Thursday after the evening meal and taking the Friday evening meal a full 24 hours later. Remember to drink plenty of water and focus time, thoughts and energy on what the Spirit might be leading you to do.
AS A PRACTICE FOR FAMILIES AND CHILDREN
Saying NO to a culture of consumption.
Fasting doesn’t have to only be about food. We live in a time when using up resources in an attempt to get more and more for ourselves is normal and often praised as an admirable goal. Information is fed to us faster than we can take it in. Entertainment is of more value than serving one another. During this season of Lent, what if we stop consuming? Whether it is TV, phones, apps, games, social media or any of the countless activities that drain our time and energy, consider “fasting “ from something, your choice, but fill the empty space with a worthy pursuit—pray for guidance, work for peace, serve each other in love. Come up for air...