IG’s Peace Blog

Peace and its many aspects

A Note on Fasting

This is the time of year that I fast.  I won’t go into the details, but it occurred to me that fasting is an important part of inner peace–at least for me.  From a spiritual perspective, fasting helps me to become more detached from the material world and from the “sound and fury” of daily events.  It can also make one more sensitive.  I find I have less tolerance for all that I find negative, including acts of cruelty and violence.  It becomes even clearer to me that there is too much conflict, too much injustice everywhere; that this lessens us all, and makes the “body politic” sick.

Many important proponents of peace have fasted regularly.  Gandhi is one of the best known examples.  He fasted to draw attention to a cause, to express solidarity with those who were suffering and generally to prepare himself spiritually for his great campaigns against imperialism and social injustice.

Fasting has been, in one form or another, a part of all the world’s faith traditions (though it might have lost its centrality in some over the centuries).  Here are a few quotes that highlight the spiritual benefits and virtues of fasting:

“When you fast, anoint your head and wash your face so that you do not appear to others to be fasting, but to your Father, who is in the secret place; and your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you openly.”–Jesus Christ, c. 8-4 B.C.-29? A.D.

“She or he who does good of her or his own accord shall be rewarded, but to fast is better for you, if you but knew it.”–Mohammed, 570?-632 A.D.

“Fasting will bring spiritual rebirth to those of you who cleanse and purify your bodies. The light of the world will illuminate within you when you fast and purify yourself. What the eyes are for the outer world, fasts are for the inner.”–Mahatma Gandhi, 1869-1948

(quotes found on this site )

We need inner strength to promote peace, and fasting is one tried and true way to help find and nurture that inner strength.

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March 2, 2009 - Posted by | Uncategorized | , ,

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