We all depend on mercy to some degree or another. Sometimes we are at the mercy of the elements. I’m presently at the mercy of my wifi connection, which is very weak today. As a result I have been unable to post much. I suddenly feel what it’s like to be without internet, something I use all day every day. It’s at times like these when we observe just how caught up we are with our daily habits and lifestyle.
Imagine a day where you had to fast or abstain from something you enjoyed daily. Occasionally it can be a good thing to fast. Some abstain from food for a day, like now during the current Muslim fast of Ramadan, where the faithful eat only before or after sunrise or sunset. So no food during the day at all. This goes on for a whole month.
Such fasting is really good for the health but more than that it is good for the mind as it cultivates self-discipline, delayed gratification and ultimately takes our focus away from sense gratification and reminds us to focus on our spiritual path. In the Vedic tradition of India there is a fast day every fortnight on the 11th day of the waxing and the waning lunar cycles. It’s called Ekadasi, with “ekadasi” translating as eleven and “dwadasi” as twelve.
Yogis would totally abstain from food and even some would fast from water too on this day of the cycle. The idea is to intensify your meditation and spiritual practice on this day, and to totally minimise the bodily activity as much as possible. Less eating means less energy needed for digestion. It also means less time needed to cook or prepare a meal and thus more time to meditate.
Some really disciplined souls would abstain even from sleeping on this fast day and would aim to stay awake all night until the next day. The waking hours would be filled with only spiritual activities, like chanting, prayer, study, meditation and so on, right through the night. Less austere souls would simply fast from grains and beans, which are the heavier foods to digest (for vegetarians). That would be the minimum requirement, so that if you could not fast altogether, then at least you would only eat some fruit or vegetables, nothing more. And then you can break fast with grains after sunrise the following morning.
Some of us have other habitual indulgences like coffee or other such stimulants. It’s really good to fast from whatever your indulgence is every so often, like once a year for a month or once a week for a day or two. In this way you break the daily habit which may be consuming you, so to speak, while you consume it.
I personally appear to be habituated to being online every day with my routine of writing and blogging as well as researching crypto or trading, since crypto is 24/7. These are habits which I also need to break sometimes so that I don’t get too obsessed by them. So today, with minimal internet connection, I was able to take several hours to work on my latest artworks, which I mint as NFTs on the Hive blockchain. Or in the case of the image you see here today with this post, I mint this one on the WAX blockchain at atomichub.
The point is that we need to break any habits or indulgences and add variety as well as give the mind a break from any daily stimulus, and fast from it for a while, especially if it’s taxing on the body. Anything like rich food or chemical stimulants should be regulated and kept under tight control, otherwise the senses get the better of us and end up leading the mind into addictive patterns.
Good habits are of course great to maintain if they boost our lifestyles in a positive way, like daily yoga or meditation, but other habits – you will know which ones you may have – they should be balanced out by occasional fasting. It will help the mind and body in the long run and work as a reset of the default position and chemical balance in the body and mind. And the balance is, after all, most important for long term maintenance.