After the Fast: In Retrospect

So I have finished my fast 10 days ago almost to the hour, and I am not taking some time to reflect on the after math of the fast: what I have learned as well as what I have felt. You can read more about it here.

The fast was easy. It isn’t the hardest thing I’ve ever had to overcome, but in the same breath, I’m trying to think of what the hardest thing I’ve ever done was…. So I guess it was hard, but it was something I could do, so the ten days wasn’t hard then was it? It was challenging I will admit. The part that I found most challenging was finding the strength to continue my daily routines as I was required to be: active and alert. Every movement, by the end of it, was accompanied with a feeling of emptyness of energy and if I got up, it was dizzyness. I had to be careful to not move to fast, or exert to much energy.

What I am still unsure about, and have noticed I have felt from the previous fasts I have done as well, is that I allow myself to look at photos and blogs of food and dreaming about it. Sometimes I feel that looking at them will only strengthen my character by denying myself those nutrients, but also isn’t the the point of doing a fast to mentally block food from my thoughts? This is something I will try and focus on this more in the future fasts (which yes, does mean that I’ll be fasting again, probably not soon though).

My body has recovered fully. My first bite was of an apple. I could immediately feel the strength pouring through my body from the nutrients, or more specifically the sugars! I had initially planned on being without anything solid, or at least no meat, for 48hrs, but after 30hrs, I went out for Thai food (which incidentally was absolutely delicious), thus breaking my dietary plans. I guess I had broken it with the apple not being blended anyways.  I have also had a meal of sushi, so I’m semi quasi accomplishing my diet plans, although I wish I wouldn’t have eaten the delicious meals directly afterward. I think it was hard on my body, a little bit anyways.

As far as my mind goes, I have searched for a lot of answers, but in the end, I know that the answers will come; this is something that fasting has taught me. In time, all things will come; even the most feared or the most anticipated events you can think of. Having to sit there and focus my mind on tasks that weren’t eating food was very easy once I really whole-heartedly put my self into the mind space, but very distracting when I did not. I found that when I did meditate, it was much more focused, and I was able to find calmness and clarity much easier than any other time I meditate. It feels almost like seeking answers from within (which I have been trying for a long time ever since reading Siddhartha), in a more effective effort. I sit here now and realize I haven’t tried to meditate since, which dismays me also.

As I am now, I am satisfied, but dissapointed with myself for not following through with my dietary goals. It was very hard to not control my eating after the fast, for I craved everything. Still now I crave delicious foods, which maybe has made me more of a snob and appreciating the finer foods (or at least good quality foods) that take time to prepare?

I have found a new level of peace though, a new understanding of life and love, and what is dear to me.. in a way. What are things that are fictitious in my mind, and what are things that are important to me? If I haven’t specifically learn’t all of these things directly as a result of the fast, they have at least been illuminated because of it, which I am eternally thankful for the opportunity to learn such things.

Often I think about what is in my mind necessary to live my life the best I can, and I really believe that it’s more to do with living, understanding, and knowing than second guessing and hesitating. Almost one may think of it as a peaceful dance with the leaves of time.

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse is a fiction book, but has so many situations and influential ideals that it shouldn’t be considered fiction. Its more of a spiritual book, and a great book at that.

The books I’ve been picking up lately are finding themselves to be spiritual journey type books and this one definitely takes the cake. It follows the travels of Brahmin’s son through his journey of life, and speaks from Siddhartha’s mind in the first person, explaining how he learns to find peace in everything around.

It starts off when young Siddhartha listens to his own voice, which tells him he must leave home to find what he’s looking for. Of course, as all fathers would be, his dislikes the idea, but with Siddhartha’s patience, his father understands that it is what must happen, and blesses his son on his journey.

I was sad at the end when Siddhartha has a moment of reflection about how he never does return to his father, but I will leave that for you to be moved by in your own way.

Siddhartha goes from being a Brahmin’s son, to living with the Samanas in the forests begging for food, then leaves to seek Buddha, but finds that what Buddha is teaching, is the same thing that all the rest have taught him, and what he has been searching for his whole life is something that only he can find himself.

Soon after this realization, he leaves his lifelong friend to stay and practice as a monk under the illustrious Buddha to let himself become a Businessman, seeking wealth & love, which in themselves bring many more extravagances. Let it be known that Siddhartha could not keep happy in such a direction.

I found it compelling and very interesting at every new leaf that Siddhartha turns over, every new discovery about his path that he realizes. Its always amazing to take what you learn from such a book and apply it to ones own life, for it makes a lot of strife so much less important in the scheme of things. This is, I assume, what most people who are searching, are looking for.

Read this book, no doubt about it. It will become a book you will reach for again and again.