Fasting has existed throughout time, and human beings have had a special relationship with different types of fasting practices in the past. During prehistoric times, fasting was less of choice and more of a necessity for our ancestors. Food was scarce, and frequent natural calamities like famine, rainstorms, hail, and snow, combined with primitive methods of agriculture, were never enough to feed the population.
Fast forward a few thousand years, and the concept of fasting has completely transformed. Unlike our ancestors, we have been blessed with abundant food thanks to modern science and efficient agricultural advancements. Fasting in the contemporary world is based on two important tenets: health and spirituality.
Much has already been said about fasting for health benefits and the different health issues you can fix with fasting. This article will delve into fasting for spirituality, the benefits of spiritual fasting, and how you can use it to cleanse your soul and align your physical body with your spiritual self.
What Is Spiritual Fasting?
In simple terms, spiritual fasting can be defined as abstaining from food and, sometimes, even water to attain spiritual benefits. It is not just confined to abstaining from food; it is performed to connect with God and one’s inner consciousness. In essence, spiritual fasting is abstaining from the body’s physical needs to attain spiritual growth.
It is better to understand the idea behind spiritual fasting rather than trying to define it with rules and regulations. Many religions prescribe different forms of spiritual fasting, but it is ultimately up to the individual to practice it based on their beliefs and preferences.
Benefits Of Spiritual Fasting
Although it is difficult to point out the benefits of spirituality because different people experience it differently, we have attempted to highlight some of the significant benefits of spiritual fasting for the soul and the body.
Gives Spiritual Clarity
Similar to how traditional medical fasting rids our bodies of toxins and waste products accumulated over time, spiritual fasting can cleanse our souls and help us attain clarity about where we stand with respect to our spirit and soul.
Abstaining from our day-to-day physical needs can be uncomfortable, but eventually, it will help us know our inner selves better. It could be pleasant or bitter, but it should not discourage you since there is no one to judge you before God. This inner clarity helps correct your course in the journey of life toward a better self.
So practicing a spiritual fast by abstaining from food and water can trigger our brains to work and think about other, more important facts of life. It helps us get that clear head space for that much-needed spiritual clarity.
Helps To Cleanse Our Soul
The modern world is a hectic race where we constantly look for that “next success,” that next big promotion, car, house, and other materialistic possessions that give a sense of pride, invincibility, and appreciation. We have turned this life into a grind where our actions do not matter as long as they take us to our desired goals.
Life is much more than a set of material goals. In modern times, we have lost empathy for people around us and consciousness, two of the most important things that make us human. Spiritual fasts are a great way to cleanse ourselves of all the vices we have picked up, whether unconsciously or consciously.
The lack of food or physical needs will cut out those desires for material growth. We catch up on this universe’s metaphysical aspects and get closer to our religion and its teachings.
Renewed Devotion Toward God
Modern life is all about luxury and convenience derived from food, lifestyle, and worldly items. We are so intrinsically involved with these things that we have started to believe that these are the only things necessary for survival.
By fasting and abstaining from food, water, and the other luxuries of modernity for a long duration, we discover that these things are superfluous, which means that these things come and go and are not indispensable for life.
With spiritual fasting, we have time to be grateful to God for the things we take for granted. These are the abilities to breathe, see, feel, talk, think, experience this beautiful world, and live with our fellow beings. We can understand that it is not food or luxury that makes life worth living. We rekindle our waning love for God and his creations with spiritual fasting.
Have More Energy For Other Things
Modern nutrition is based on fast food, as we munch on these items almost every alternate day. This constant barrage of food is not suitable for our bodies, especially our digestive systems. It is hard for our bodies to constantly digest the unhealthy food we consume.
This vicious cycle prevents our bodies from resting. With spiritual fasting, we can put a stop to this cycle. When we don’t eat or drink for an extended period, our bodies can focus on repairing damaged cells and flushing out harmful toxins.
It will give us energy and revitalize us both spiritually and physically. We can think and analyze better as we use the full potential of our minds and body. This positive energy will stay with us even after our spiritual fasting process.
Better Attitude Towards The World
We can attain a better outlook on the world and our surroundings with spiritual fasting. It is because we achieve a sense of awareness and become more considerate of our environment, the people we meet, and our family.
The modern world has somewhat made us selfish, meaning we only think about the self and how we can satisfy the needs and wants of the self. But with spiritual fasting, we can break the confines of our inward selves and explore the world for what it is. We can better appreciate the gifts that God has provided us with.
In a sense, we can cultivate humility as we gain awareness and understand the depths of this world through spiritual fasting.
Several Health Benefits
One of the most significant advantages of spiritual fasting is the several health benefits that can be achieved while practicing it. We can combine spiritual and medical fasting and reap great gifts for the mind and body.
We deprive ourselves of food and drink for extended periods when fasting. If done correctly, this fasting can help us lose excess fat by creating a calorie deficit due to time restrictions.
Additionally, spiritual fasting can be done with intermittent fasting, where we can stimulate our body to undergo “ketosis.” During ketosis, our body starts breaking down fats to produce energy, which is helpful in weight loss.
Some modern studies suggest that fasting for specific durations of the day can stimulate the body’s cells to remove weak and diseased cells. This process is called “autophagy” and is helpful in the creation of new, healthier cells.
If you want to learn more about how autophagy can keep your organs efficient and highly functional, check out our blog, Autophagy & Fasting: All You Need to Know.
Some of the other expected health benefits related to fasting include the prevention of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Also, fasting can help us maintain blood pressure and prevent any possible cardiovascular diseases. Fasting can help us regulate blood cholesterol levels by reducing the amount of bad cholesterol (LDL) and increasing the amount of good (HDL) cholesterol.
Many studies have also linked fasting to improving cognitive functions and helping people with Alzheimer’s and Parkison’s diseases. Fasting is also known to be effective for patients struggling with cancer.
Another benefit of spiritual fasting is that it helps us avoid addictions like smoking and alcohol consumption. Spiritual fasting can also help us rid our bodies of toxins accumulated by eating junk food and following an unhealthy lifestyle.
Gives Us Satisfaction
Since spiritual fasting can be challenging, those who succeed in it often feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. We can feel a sense of unity with God and our spiritual selves. Spiritual fasting can help us appreciate what God has given us and become humble and content.
The modern world is full of distractions, which tend to make us forget our humanity and spirituality. In these fast-moving times, spiritual fasting is one of the essential practices to stay connected with our inner selves and spirituality. Our spirituality and consciousness can act as a guide for us and strengthen our bond with God.