Throughout the history of the human beings on this planet, fasting has concerned with both spiritual and physical parts of a person. Traditionally, fasting was a way to communicate with the sacred, with the Creator and it was used for this purpose alone for thousands of years. It makes sense too, from an anthropological and evolutionary points of view, because famine was the main driving force in early civilisations and to voluntarily abstain from food for health reasons, it didn’t make much sense. It was the nourishment of the soul that was sought after with fasting and the direction for life. Only in the last 100 years, with the advanced of modern medicine and the technical ability to track blood markers, humans started to use fasting for health reasons alone.
Fasting is a highly complex and multifaceted act that is most effective when viewed as a whole and not a mix of the emotional, spiritual and physical aspects glued together.
When we decide to fast we become aware. We make this choice voluntarily and the results are spectacular. What we are doing is consciously engage the hidden parts of ourselves, the secret face of the sacred that is within all forms of the material world, and our most fundamental relationship with food and nurturing.
During the deep fasting, which is beyond the 7th day in a water fast, the rational mind is left behind and a different type of intelligence is activated. There is a thinning of the wall between us and all other things that surround us, and the organ of perception designed by Creator to perceive the sacred, the heart, starts to take predominance. The heart will begin to distinguish the hidden face of the sacred that is part of everyday things. The heart is after all, connected by more than 40,000 sensory neurons with the body and it has become increasingly clear in recent studies that the heart can be rightfully called “the second brain”.
Great religious leaders fasted for spiritual reasons alone: Moses fasted for 40 days when he went up to the mountain to receive the commandments of God written on stone tablets; Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days too; the Prophet Mohammed fasted regularly and he introduced the Ramadan, when everyone of Islamic faith should fast from dawn to sunset for this entire holy month; Buddha shaved his head and went into the forest for six years, eating little, often fasting.
In the modern time, the relationship between fasting, the sacred and the reason for which we are born has been forgotten. We are busier than ever. There is no time for anything. The fasting is being stripped of its spiritual origins.
Physically, when we fast, there is an array of things that happen at once with amazing results. We are evolutionary designed to fast, and the body knows how to do it very well. Fasting allows the overburdened body to rest, detoxify and heal. The body enters into a cycle (similar with the one when we sleep) of detoxification and cleaning. As a fast progresses, the body consumes everything it can that is not essential to bodily function. This include viruses, bacteria, tumours, waste products in the blood, joints and stored fat. The immediate result is that the body eliminates its physical junk the way the spiritual and emotional body get rid of their own toxic build-ups.
Fasting is one of the most powerful forms of healing for the body.
In more detail, I am going to list here some conditions where supervised fasting as treatment was found beneficial:
- Type II Diabetes – very effective in treatment of this condition;
- Cardiovascular diseases (chronic conditions) – very beneficial; reduces TG, blood pressure, atheroma, Total Cholesterol and increases HDL levels;
- Epilepsy – beneficial; reduces the length, number and severity of seizures;
- Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis – effective, by inducing an anti-inflammatory state in the body;
- Autoimmune conditions (Lupus, Multiple sclerosis, RA, Rosacea etc) – have all responded well to fasting.
- Poor immune function improves after fasting.
- All chronic skin conditions (psoriasis, eczema etc) have shown significant improvement after a water-only fast.
- Other conditions that have responded well to fasting: ulcers, phlebitis, fibromyalgia, asthma, uterine fibroids, gout, insomnia, depression, irritable bowel syndrome.
Inspired from the book “the Fasting Path” – by Stephen Harrod Buhner