Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fast Bloggin'


I'm about to enjoy some red grapes as I contemplate how fast the Baha'i Fast is approaching. It kind of sneaked up on me. 2010 is going to be a year of experiments on Baha'i Thought and I'd like to try one for the Fast. My goal is to do one simple post a day describing my reflections and experiences during this special time. I want to encourage Baha'i Thought readers who are also fasting to share their thoughts and stories in the comment section each day if they wish. I wanted to kick things off with inviting readers to share anything they do to prepare for the Fast or if there are particular things you like to do during this time. Do you have a particular prayer you love, or something you like to eat for breakfast? Is there a particular way you like to break the Fast? What's the strangest thing you ever broke your Fast with (mine would be Pringles!). The comment section is wide open. Bring it on people.

Oh, and if you're not familiar with the Baha'i Fast you can read about it here.

If you're someone from another religious or spiritual tradition that practices fasting, you're welcome to share your comments, thoughts, reflections or stories as well.

"Ye had written of the fasting month. Fortunate are ye to have obeyed the commandment of God, and kept this fast during the holy season. For this material fast is an outer token of the spiritual fast; it is a symbol of self-restraint, the withholding of oneself from all appetites of the self, taking on the characteristics of the spirit, being carried away by the breathings of heaven and catching fire from the love of God."
(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 69)

19 comments:

  1. Wow! What a blessing! Today is my one year Baha'i "birthday". When I declared last year, I literally had just learned about the faith, and wasn't ready to fast. This year, I hoped to find some support and comradery online during the fast, and here you are! What is really amazing is that it appears that you posted this within the past few hours! Ask and ye shall receive! I'm a little nervous about the fast. I used to do it alot, on my own terms, and more for health reasons than spiritual. Although it has a tendency to cleanse every aspect of the self. I have some health issues now that I didn't have back in those days, but I believe that prayer will give me the strength and the diligence that I'll need.
    I am really thankful for you to have taken the time to create this page, as well as still keep it updated so frequently!
    Happy ayammiha! Talk to you soon!

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  2. Freedom, congrats on your Baha'i birthday. Glad to know you can get some support for the fast. In recent years, I've found that the physical aspect of the fast has gotten more difficult. Not sure why, other than perhaps age. That part used to be a breeze for me. Looking forward to sharing this journey with you.

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  3. This is my one year Baha'i birthday too! I declared last year about two weeks before fast after seeking and investigating the faith for about 10 years. I wasn't ready to fast last year; I only made it 1 day! This year I'm planning a lot of dinners with Baha'is in my community to break fast with. I also bought a gloriously yummy bag of coconut covered dates to have in the evening when I break fast. I'll definitely keep reading and posting! Good luck Freedom! I had one friend recommend sucking on (clean) marbles to help with thirst. I may give it a try if I need to.

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  4. I've been renovating a house full-time for the last couple of months and this work is continuing through the fast. It's pretty much unavoidable because i have deadlines to meet. One side-effect is that I'm going into the fast pretty much as trim as I usually am coming out of the fast.

    I haven't decided whether I'll work nocturnally or eat and drink a bit during daylight hours. It'll be the first time for many years that I've done a reasonable amount of physical labour over the fast. I'll just see how things go this year. For me, the first few days are settling-in days.

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    ReplyDelete
  6. And so it begins! Phillipe, when I first read the quote you posted regarding the fast, something jumped out at me: "from all appetites of the self". I thought, what else have I been indulging in that I need to let go of for the fast? A Baha'i friend on Facebook had posted a week ago that he would not be signing on during the fast. I was inspired but didn't think I needed to "go that far". Besides, I felt that being in touch with my Baha'i amigos would help me stay strong - I'd have a support group to check in with as often as I like. However, seeing the quote there in front of me, I looked a little deeper. What is spiritually distracting in my life? I don't really have many vices to give up, so to speak, but what frivolous things do I partake in that could be pushed aside to make time for more prayer and studying? Facebook, definitely. Netflix has been a new and fun thing in my son's and my life - we watch movies once or twice a week at least, because we don't have television. So bye-bye to that. Tonight I will meditate a little further, and make a clear list for myself. I will check in with this page, though. I feel that finding this blog was such an answered prayer, making it more obvious that I need to cleanse from things beyond food and drink. Not to mention the fact that this IS a blog specifically discussing the nineteen day fast! I'll probably say thank you at least once a day, be forewarned, it could get monotonous. :)

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  7. Thanks to everyone for kicking things off. I appreciate the folks who are being candid about the challenge of the physical aspect of the Fast. I'm having breakfast right now and will be curious how the first day goes. I'll let you know later this evening. Freedom I have also seen the Fast as a time to thing about what I need to let go of to free my soul. One year I actually ended a relationship during the Fast. Your enthusiasm is infectious, don't apologize for it.

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  8. Anonymous9:11 AM

    Physically, I find the fast has become a little easier over the years. I started fasting when I was not so busy and now, as a working parent, I am a bit rushed off my feet and time passes more quickly. I have always found not drinking hard. During the fast I go off food. I am usually someone who enjoys food a lot but I get up early during the fast and force down what I think will do me good, rather than what I fancy.

    Before chidren, the fast was a time of less meals. Now I have children, it is a time of 5 meals a day rather than 2. There is my breakfast, their breakfast, their lunch, their supper then my supper. Sometimes I seem to deal with food the whole day!

    The biggest challenge for me is when I am required to work late especially if it involves interaction with the public because on some days, by 6pm I am a little spaced out. I also have to clean my teeth at mid-day as my breath becomes really bad.

    Spiritually, I discovered meditation during one fast. I have come to look on fasting as a spiritual gift. During another fast I was able to, for the first time, become more self-aware so that I was able to manage my stress levels and decrease them and, I believe, significantly better my mental health as a result. As a by-product of that, I lost the fear a had of a number of things.

    Pauline

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  9. Dear Phillipe,

    During this fast, like last year's, I'm nursing our baby. So this is my way of immersing myself in the spirit of fasting (shameless plug ahead): www.nineteendays.wordpress.com

    Love!
    leila

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  10. Hi friends! Today was my first day ever participating in the Baha'i Fast. I am in awe. There is some very sad news about two of my friends right now, and yet there was this joy (and disorientation too, and much more) surrounding the experience today. I saw my husband at dawn, which I never do (he's the early riser). My 7 and 5 year old had lots of questions -- the 7 year old enthusistic and curious, the 5 year old who is a little gourmand pressing me very hard about WHY someone wouldn't eat all day : ) The water I drank at 5:43 was extraordinary. I'm ready for a deep sleep : )

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  11. Hey folks. I intended to post last night as promised about my first day fasting but it ended up being one of the worse days I had in some time. Thus I did not get an opportunity for blogging. I just wanted to acknowledge that and hope to post this evening on days 1 and 2. Thanks again to everyone who has shared so far. Keep it coming.

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  12. Dear all,
    Thanks for sharing all of these comments. Here's something new I'll be trying during this year's Fast. Over at nineteendays.wordpress.com someone commented about getting up early, eating, and saying prayers. I realized that up until know I've wolfed down a quick breakfast, and then headed back to bed. I'll read the Writings in the morning, but it's divorced from the act of pre-sunrise breakfast. So for the next few days, I'm going to try making that early morning meal a bit more of a spiritual enterprise.

    And we'll be posting daily at Anonymous Cowgirl throughout the Fast, on a variety of topics, including "agile agriculture" and the difference between concepts and information.

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  13. Mike K5:25 PM

    I really wish I could physically fast. I have diabetes, and I have tried fasting anyway and ran into big trouble in prior years. At any rate, each Fast I debate about whether to do something symbolic in terms of not eating/drinking, or just accept that I am 'exempt.' Definitely, abstaining from 'corrupt inclinations' and 'base appetites' is not lost on me. I also take to heart the writing that states, "thou hast endowed every hour...with a special significance..." Happy Fasting, everyone!

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  14. Thanks to all who have posted comments. My wife has diabetes so she can relate to not being able to participate in the physical fast. The issue of the way people handle that morning breakfast is interesting to. I would add the way one breaks the fast to that list. To all those who are fasting for the first time, congrats. I definitely want to hear your stories.

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  15. In my early years of fasting, I used to think if I ate something substantial, like steak and eggs, it would carry me through the day. Now my breakfast is no different than any other time of the year. I usually like to have oatmeal, a cup of tea or coffee and juice. Or an omelet with cheese and some ham. For some reason, I typically stick to these two items for breakfast.

    I am so grateful for the Fast and each year I learn more and more about myself. To have the opportunity to focus on your spiritual nature during these 19 days is such a blessing. And I never have more opportunities to teach than during the Fast.

    We are in the final days this week and I am hoping that each day is better than the one before. Happy Fasting!

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