by Fu-Ding Cheng: For those actively on the path, it’s that time again for our yearly purification rite that we call the Shamanic Fast.
The Shamanic 40 Day “Fast”
From Wednesday, February 18 to Easter Sunday, April 5, 2015
This “fast” is actually a cleansing diet of your own design. It is called “Going Into the Desert” (inspired by Christ going into the desert to confront His demons). By breaking routine habits, we flush out old patterns, wounds and inner saboteurs.
This is only a guideline, so you are welcome to revise it befitting your own needs. But whatever you decide, stick to it. Practice self-discipline and unbending intent to fulfill your own program. This is one of the main purposes of the fast––to not only invigorate your own body, but strengthen your power of intent.
The “Fast” works on several levels:
Design a program that supports and nurtures your body. Perhaps you vow to eliminate or set limits to your intake of sugar, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods, etc. Or you promise to drink x glasses of water. You design the program according to your needs and your level of self-discipline. For example, “I will have only one glass of red wine per day,” or “no processed sugar or cigarettes…” See this as not so much as “giving up” something, but rather “honoring your body,” the biological miracle that you live in.
Treat your body with love. Prepare and eat your meals with full awareness of the tastes, textures and quality of the food. Knowing our tumultuous times, do not take your food for granted, but enjoy it with full gratitude.
Eat only love and joy. Even though anger, mistrust, disappointment, and fear is all around us, let it all pass through you, and eat only love and joy. If you get caught by negativity, do not beat yourself up and condemn yourself, but don’t give up your program either. Keep going, and practice unbending intent.
Eat only uplifting, relaxing, and/or inspiring media. See quality films and books that have cultural and/or spiritual benefit. Read literature you have always wanted to read. You decide what that means to you. If, for instance, the news increases understanding and compassion, watch it. If it makes you feel cynical, helpless or fearful, don’t watch it. Just like you won’t eat junk food, don’t eat junk media. A warrior is a master of his own attention.
Other Suggested Practices:
- Practice one day of silence per week. Choose a day that’s naturally quieter. If that is difficult, try communicating through written words. For example, at a restaurant, you might have a sign that says, “I’m observing a day of silence. May I write or point out my order?” You’ll be surprised how accommodating people can be. You’ll also be amazed at how much energy is saved by not talking, and how much you can say without words.
- If you still must talk on your day of silence, then speak, but be laconic. Mind your words; make them count.
Practice “Puja” for the body. (A pujais the act of showing reverence to a god or spirit through invocations and rituals.) For example, when you take a shower, think of yourself as a god or goddess you are worshipping, and as you wash, massage and caress each part of your body, thanking it for all the service it has given you.
- Do one wonderful thing for yourself per week: treat yourself to a massage, sauna, yoga, walk in nature, a trip to a concert or museum, or something special that you’ve always wanted to do, but never have gotten around to. Love thyself.
Good luck, and have fun with the adventure!