Fasting from Non-Food

Posted: June 7, 2013 in Uncategorized
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As a part of a week of retreat I fasted from television, radio and most work-related email or texts. For the better part of each day I was “unplugged.” I’ve done it before and the impact is usually the same.

First comes withdrawal which is simply the mind letting go of its familiarity with the external data stream and its own adapted inner noise to match. It took half a day for the mind to quiet. The outer silence, when received as a gift and practice, drives itself inward until it become the new normal. Relapse is easy. And habits die slow. Is it a conditioned reflex we have acquired to reach for the phone to check for messages?

Once we quiet and start listening again we can hear the sound of our own consciousness, the singular strike of each word of the prayer or reading, the motion of each creature swooping through space. We can attend again or better.

Then there is the natural rhythm of the day, guided by the rising and setting of the sun, framed by darkness and the quieting of nature’s activity. Even the nocturnals do their business under the auspicious of silence.

Time passes quickly or slowly or not at all. Day flows into night and back again. Breathing is noticed and then not. And somehow the world got along just fine during my absence. Oh, it’s not that I don’t have anything yet to do or that my presence might be desired or needed; it is. But the world doesn’t depend on us as much as we think. And the deep drink of spirit that refreshes fills us with what we need to re-enter the data stream, manic world that fools itself into thinking that the faster and louder it moves the more importance it holds.

  1. NMiller says:

    I heard a small melody, one of my new favorites, “Come and find the quiet center in the crowded life we lead…” As one wanting to become more accustomed to life in a slower lane, this was good to hear and be reminded that it can and should be done periodically.

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