Fasting for the spiritual benefits

Dan Peterson

Dan Peterson

My friend Dan Petersen has decided to fast, perhaps with prayer, perhaps with meditation. I think he got the idea when Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy said she would fast and pray about the financial mess the city is in because of the state’s raid of its assets.

I ran into Dan last week and he told me about the fast and asked if he could send me e-mails documenting his progress, and I responded by asking if I could post the e-mails.

The deal was made. Here is Dan’s first e-mail:

Here I am at the end of day three. Time just flies by these days, and in the interest of feeling less food obsessed I’m glad for it. Day three is always a milestone in the world of fasting. If it’s a three day fast (quite a typical period for a cleanse) then woo-hoo lets have a little breakfast. If it’s a longer fast then its a milestone because by now one’s body has switched to it’s reserve feeding process. It is now consuming fat rather than quick at-hand resources that everyday eating provides. And for some reason the feeling of being hungry now subsides. So… not that it’s a breeze, but it’s a lot easier than most people think.

 As far as the prayer portion of “fasting with prayer” goes, it may or may not be easy. I think it depends on where one has been on the journey with regard to religion, spirituality, family, self awareness and confidence. And the confidence part, at least for me, changes all the time.

 I personally was brought up going to a Christian church, and so by default, lean in that direction. But what I have deemed to be lies, deception, treachery and simply put, outright abuse by those so-called Christian leaders both close and far have given me a sour taste for my religion.

 Though in truth I think all religions are in the same boat. Not bad, just victims of the wretched people who abuse the power.

 I keep reminding myself that the Jesus person also was disgusted by what was being passed off as religion in his day. And that he must have felt as angry and bitter toward those leaders as I do about our present day pharisee-like leaders today.

 Particularly when blended with dirty politics.

 So I would have to say that many of my prayers, were they aloud, would sound more like a barroom brawl. And in my prayers, I’m winning the fight and our illustrious pharisee leaders in Raleigh are catching the business end of thrown beer mugs right in the chops.

 But then I realize that is exactly what they are legislatively doing to the good people of North Carolina. And I don’t want to be anything like them. So if prayers have anything to do with religion, I need new prayers, new understanding of what my religion should mean to me.

 The Dalai Lama person seemed to say it the best for me in this quote:

“The very purpose of religion is to control yourself, not to criticize others. Rather, we must criticize ourselves. How much am I doing about my anger? About my attachment, about my hatred, about my pride, my jealousy? These are the things that we must check in life.”

 Perhaps I should send this quote to our present day pharisees.


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