Question to all faiths: What is "fasting" for?

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posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 03:51 PM
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Fasting is related to breaking spiritual bondage, and bringing your spirit closer to God. While I don't know specifically about all that, I do fast occasionally and the truth is after three days, I do feel markedly better and healthier. So for all I know there are spiritual reasons for it, but it was also probably recognized long ago for the physical well being it helps foster, especially for those looking to lose weight because after three days of not eating your body stops storing fat and starts breaking it down.




posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 04:33 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Fasting allows you to train your physical mind and body. If you can fast, you are overcoming the body and therefore controlling your lower mind. Do you succumb to your body's needs and wants every minute of the day? Do you get a snack to eat as soon as you are slightly hungry? Do you have a problem overcoming that sweet tooth? It trains your mind to reject the material things at a moment's notice. Fasting will help you further along in your spiritual training as you put other practices into moderation as sleep, sex, alcohol, drugs, coffee, tv watching, consumerism, etc. When you are able to overcome the physical, you will be more capable of training your other minds--emotional, mental, and identity. This is what I call balancing the mind.
edit on 9/17/2013 by ctophil because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



Do you "dread" the days you know you are to "fast"?

No, like I said, I like the way that it messed with my routine -- there is something spiritually (or mentally) fulfilling about that, so I look forward to it. It's something I should probably try and incorporate once in a while the rest of the year more often, though I'll leave off the "fish Friday" thing, because I don't like fish.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 07:15 PM
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I always thought that fasting was more of a biochemical reset than something religious. If you fast long enough, your body will balance itself out. Blood levels will normalize. Blood would be freed up to go elsewhere other than your bloated gut...my bloated gut. Your digestive system will mellow out. Mind cloud would fade. Etc.

Now if you are talking about lent or any equivalent, it is to remind you of what you have and what it is like to go without. IMO



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 09:16 PM
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SirMike
reply to post by wildtimes
 


SirMike;
Fasting teaches self control over the body's impulses. As one of the most basic of all human drives, its a very concrete expression of free will.


It teaches nothing but eventual test of death. Siddhartha was for 7? years a member of that sect of denial. He realized that by denighing sustainance was not his path to Godhood, some remain in the state of starvation for years..and continue to live. Freewill is of course mainstream to killing oneself, we can and do participate in that ultimate act (if so willed by the actioner and are allowed to do so). Did Siddhartha think God would intervene in his behalf? NO, as in his own foolishness would have to figure out that "flaying of the flesh" or "celebacy" (christian) also is no answer to get into the mind of God. Where do these practices come from? ONE OUT OF DESPERATION (I will try anything to know God). Well, hes not responding to the plea's. As usual the lesson is moderation in all things consumed not complete Prohibition of. What is wrong with you all to take it literally to mean NO CONSUMPTION of vital foodstuffs whatsoever? What insane being would believe they could live on oxygen alone, or a faith in a recalcentrant Godform? To fast, like Jesus did for 40 days and 40 nights REALLY?? Moses as well, depending upon your bible, fasting in the Catholic Church means only eating fish. At a certain time during the week you eat only the loaves and fish. Lent the time the RCC only allows the eating of fish (if fasting/cheating on the diet). According to the RCC Jesus was just trying to show the human you can do without food? WHO IS NOT aware of this fact, an imbicile would know this. I think the Bible needs to be brought into the 21st century and replace all references to 'food' avoidances as 'fast food products'; twinkies, snowballs, Big Macs, cheese puffs, rice crispy snacks, KFC Buckets of heaven, Hebrew National Kosher hotdogs, cupcakes and imitation dairy/protein products disguised as a 'SOY' alternative.
edit on 17-9-2013 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 09:17 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Hello wildtimes.

I am in agreement with SirMike and ctophill.

In fasting, we are observing our impulses and feelings. We are aware of the yearnings of the stomach. We feel the hunger pains. We observe as hunger and thirst arise. We are mindful that it is a choice to be enslaved to those sensory perceptions of hunger and thirst.

We can impulsively eat at the split-second demand of the stomach by enslavement,... or we can be mindful of hunger and its mechanisms, and consciously use choice to ease the stomach's suffering.

By becoming ever more aware and understanding of our physical feelings and perceptions,... we become ever more open, aware, and understanding of our thoughts, words, actions, and emotions. And in doing this, we become ever more conscious and aware of the 'subtle' reality.

In fasting, we do not seek to punish the body,... nor do we seek the suffering of hunger,... nor do we seek to add negative connotation with eating,... in moderate fasting, we seek mindfulness and understanding of our Self.



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 09:27 PM
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reply to post by vethumanbeing
 


Shakyamuni Buddha learned through his ascetic-austerity that it is best to seek the Middle Way,... in not being extremely depraved to the point of physical suffering, while not being luxuriously over-indulgent.

Fasting, while avoiding suffering, is very helpful in developing mindfulness and knowledge of Self.


edit on 9/17/13 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 09:47 PM
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Sahabi
reply to post by veteranhumanbeing
 


Shakyamuni Buddha learned through his ascetic-austerity that it is best to seek the Middle Way,... in not being extremely depraved to the point of physical suffering, while not being luxuriously over-indulgent.

Fasting, while avoiding suffering, is very helpful in developing mindfulness and knowledge of Self.


You are sure the point of fasting is not to suffer, and in so suffering will develop a mindset "I MUST EAT" eventually. By depriving the body/brain of sustainance would be handicaping the mind of nutrition and drive it into a state of symbiosis connected (to what lunacy)? I would say that in any period of history any landscape, the prilgrim settlers understood, "we must go out and kill the protein, then domesticate it" and in the interrum farm the land to grow the necessaries to feed then those you husband, wheat, barley, corn etc. Mindfullness of body is knowing when it is hungry, and not killing yourself over an impossible ideal of perfection/not eventual putrifaction. I see the reason in moderation not starvation for the salvation of your soul to an indistinct/recalcitrant creator.
edit on 17-9-2013 by vethumanbeing because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 10:17 PM
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reply to post by vethumanbeing
 


Fasting is not synonymous with starvation or putrefaction. My replies have not propagated such a thing as deprivation or self-inflicted suffering. Neither have I endorsed any type of prolonged withholding from sustenance.

Hunger is one of the many sensory perceptions that we are intrinsically bound to. There is no wisdom in vilifying or demonizing hunger or eating. Simply, we choose how and when to eat,... instead of blindly being enalaved to hunger. Through short-intervals of fasting, we overcome one desire of many, and gain a clear understanding of another aspect of our Self. We achieve a greater level of patience. We gain a greater appreciation for food.

The type of fasting I recommend is withholding from food and drink from sunrise until sunset, one day a week, up to 2 non-consecutive days a week. Similar to the edicts of Islamic fasting. We start the day with nourishment, we spend the day being normally productive, while being mindful of desire and overcoming impulse, then we conclude our evening with well-appreciated nourishment.

As mentioned, I do not propagate ascetic measures of austerity, vilification of eating, nor dangerous behavior.



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 11:10 AM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 


Qur'an Surah 2

183 O ye who believe! fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed
to those before you that ye may
(learn) self-restraint.
184 (Fasting) for a fixed number of days; but if any of you is ill or on a
journey the prescribed number
(should be made up) from days later.
For those who can do it (with
hardship) is a ransom the feeding of
one that is indigent. But he that will give more of his own free will it is
better for him and it is better for you
that ye fast if ye only knew.



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 12:05 PM
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reply to post by logical7
 


I asked for YOUR PERSONAL feelings and thoughts about fasting, and whether or not you dread it, look forward to it, or to it ending, or enjoy it, etc. not scriptures commanding you to do it.



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 12:21 PM
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reply to post by Sahabi
 



In fasting, we do not seek to punish the body,... nor do we seek the suffering of hunger,... nor do we seek to add negative connotation with eating,... in moderate fasting, we seek mindfulness and understanding of our Self.

The Buddhists teach to be mindful WHILE EATING - to be mindful in EVERYTHING WE DO - breathing, drinking, eating, resting, working.

As I said, I'm not an over-eater. I don't eat when I'm bored; I CAN'T eat when I'm upset; and I generally don't WANT to be bothered with it, but know that I must do so IN ORDER TO LIVE.

I don't believe in self-punishment; we are made as humans, and we need to eat. Being AWARE of what, and how much, we are eating is good enough.

I think a healthy diet is appropriate, and goes along with spirituality and awareness of self.



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 12:26 PM
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reply to post by vethumanbeing
 



Mindfullness of body is knowing when it is hungry, and not killing yourself over an impossible ideal of perfection/not eventual putrifaction. I see the reason in moderation not starvation for the salvation of your soul to an indistinct/recalcitrant creator.

I'm in your camp, vet. I agree, no "merciful" God (recalcitrant, distant, and indifferent) would expect us to punish our vessels - our bodies.

Know when you are hungry, KNOW WHEN YOU HAVE HAD ENOUGH, and avoid over-indulgence and junk - as you said above (cheetos, coca-cola, ho-hos, twinkies, etc). I can't eat a "regular" American restaurant dinner; it's ALWAYS too much.... a typical "Chinese carry out" will last me 3 days.

I'm not a skin-and-bones waif, either - I have a normal BMI, a normal weight, and total awareness of how EVERYTHING effects my body; the weather, the foods I eat, the amount of sleep I need, when I'm exhausted, when I'm energetic...

I think knowing our limits - and practicing moderation - is the key.



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 12:30 PM
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reply to post by Sahabi
 



We are mindful that it is a choice to be enslaved to those sensory perceptions of hunger and thirst.

Enslaved? They are necessary; without them, we perish.

Over-indulgence is the flip side of hunger-striking or anorexia. BOTH can be considered neuroses and BOTH are decidedly unhealthy. We are born with bodies that require caloric and liquid intake, as well as oxygen.

To deprive the body of those things ON PURPOSE is hurtful.



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 12:39 PM
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reply to post by FlyersFan
 


You remember!

Yep! I've TOLD you guys!! lol.

I remember what people say; I pay attention, and the comments and remarks they make get filed in their "this individual says" folder. Online communication makes it very interesting - having no "visual" of each other, we have only our words and manner of expression to "illustrate" ourselves, and I do pay attention. (That's what writers are all about - character development and disclosure.)



It's a double-edged sword though; but choosing one's words carefully is as important as choosing foods to eat. In my opinion. But hey, I'm only a regular human being living on a rock circling a ball of gas/fire, knowing that my days are numbered.

I don't see much reason to impose suffering UPON MYSELF. I try to focus on relieving the suffering, or aiding the development of insight, in others.



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 01:39 PM
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reply to post by wildtimes
 



Hello again wildtimes.

Not at all do I propagate long-term fasting, starvation, or self-inflicted suffering. I am not under the opinion that eating is bad.



Enslaved?


By enslavement to hunger, I mean being enslaved to the feeling of hunger. Hunger as a feeling and desire.

We are enslaved to hunger when,...

We impulse or binge eat.

We eat unhealthy or unnecessary things.

Bad eating habits can lead to obesity, diabetes, and preventable diseases.

We are enslaved to hunger when,... the moment we feel hunger, we act as if we MUST eat now! We are enslaved to hunger when we are moody, grouchy, and irritable because we are late with a meal.

 


In no way am I alluding to fasting that inflicts suffering on the body. Simply, one day out of the week where no food or drink is taken during the daylight hours.

This type of moderate fasting helps to develop patience in when we eat. It helps us to develop an even more appreciation for food. It helps us to empathize with the starving. It helps us to develop self-control over our physical bodies.

 




If we fast for one day during daylight hours,... and do not suffer from any medical abnormalities regarding our metabolism,..... what deprivation or suffering can come when we KNOW that we will eat as soon as the sun sets? This type of fasting gives direct lessons of patience and self-control. The time that would have been spent eating can be used for self-working and cultivation.








edit on 9/18/13 by Sahabi because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 02:15 PM
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reply to post by Sahabi
 


We are enslaved to hunger when,... the moment we feel hunger, we act as if we MUST eat now! We are enslaved to hunger when we are moody, grouchy, and irritable because we are late with a meal.


I totally agree with you there, Sahabi, my friend. I know we are on the same page on spirituality


Thank you for clarifying for me.

I would say that yes, postponing eating if there are no ill effects is fine....the exception would be, as you said, blood sugar issues like diabetes and hypoglycemia - the latter of which "enslaves" both my husband and myself! LOL

Thanks again.

(Sorry, everyone if I seem cranky - my world turned upside down two weeks ago, and the hits just keep coming - but I'm trying to stay afloat. ATS is an anchor and a refuge for me; and I value everyone who interacts with me here. I appreciate you all - to the point where "fasting" from ATS would be detrimental to my mental health at this point.)


Namaste
~wildtimes
edit on 9/18/13 by wildtimes because: ugh..typos and grammar



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 02:17 PM
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I'm not seeing how fasting becomes a punishment of any sort. It doesn't harm me in any way, or hinder my day-to-day work. I certainly don't hallucinate.

The muslim (and jewish) method of fasting is from dawn to dusk. Certainly not enough time for starvation or death or any such punishment. Enough to help you learn a little patience, and remind you what it is to be hungry, and how 1 in 8 of your fellow human beings feel every single day.



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 02:22 PM
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reply to post by babloyi
 


Okay, I can see that. Yes, as the old saying goes here: "There are people starving in [place name - which used to be Ethiopia or India or so forth - but nowadays it could be just down the block!], so be grateful that you don't have to go to sleep on an empty stomach and wake up to one in the morning".....

Thanks for your response.



posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 02:40 PM
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reply to post by babloyi
 


Hello babloyi.

Out of all of the methodologies of fasting, Muhammad's take on it in the Sunnah has stayed with me even in my Islamic apostasy. I enjoy the dawn-to-dusk fasting on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

But instead of fasting for God's pleasure or for religious observances,... I fast for mindfulness, patience, self-control, and introspective self-work cultivation.

Assalaamu alaikum





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