Thursday, March 22, 2007

How to fast during Lent - or for any other worthy intention

Folks, the following is an adaptaion of the article, How to fast for a religious occasion.

  • Prepare yourself physically. Fasting can actually be a cleansing opportunity for the body, but you don't want to make yourself sick. Eat a good meal prior to beginning your fast. Don't gorge yourself, but don't go into it on nothing but a snack-size meal.

  • Limit your fast appropriately. If there is not a specific limit already set by your religious tradition, limit the fast yourself to 12-24 hours. Anything less is not much of a fast, and anything more could lead to serious physical problems. Remember that your fast should be a good experience, not a dangerous one.

  • Make the fast an opportunity to step-up your spirituality. Set aside time to study scripture or other inspirational writings, and meditate on their meaning.

  • Pray during your fast. Whatever your purpose for religious fasting, it can be a great opportunity for spiritual growth when accompanied by prayer. Pray with purpose, expressing gratitude and articulating both your needs and the needs of others. Pause to reflect and meditate on your prayer and your fast.

  • Close your fast with prayer. If you were fasting with a specific purpose, take the opportunity again to express your purpose. Express gratitude for the opportunity to fast, and for being able to complete it!
  • Tips
  • Remember why you are fasting. When your stomach growls, or you feel hungry or weak, recognize it as an opportunity to remember the purpose of your fast - not a weakness or something to grumble about.

  • Stay away from food. The sight or smell of food will probably make fasting more difficult physically, and if food is easily accessible, you may unconsciously begin to snack.

  • Discreetly inform close friends, family, or associates that you are fasting so they can support you instead of inadvertently undermining your fast by offering food.

  • When it is time to eat again, start slowly. Your stomach may not be ready for harsh foods.
  • Warnings
  • Do not fast if you are seriously ill. Don't use a minor illness as an excuse, but consider your own health and the possible risks associated with fasting.

  • If you are taking medications, ask your physician before fasting and continue to take them as instructed by your physician.

  • If you do not want anyone to know you are fasting, try going out of the workplace for lunch or going into another room when people start to eat.