Thursday, September 18, 2008

Daniel Day 11 - Spiritual Experience

I said earlier, “The Holy Spirit leads you steadily along the path of freedom, teaching you how to disregard or look beyond everything that would hold you back.” It is always my ego that holds me back, keeping me imprisoned as long as I listen to it. I’d like to give you this, “The ego cannot teach you anything as long as your will is free, because you will not listen to it.” I had an experience of ego freedom today. The experience is very precious to me. It tells me that I am becoming free from ego bondage and have the ability to listen to Something Else.

If you study fasting, you will read of the health benefits. Since I have a cold and a sore foot, and I am off work to recover for a day, I thought maybe I would drink only water for a couple of days and take advantage of the health benefits. I am already under a Daniel Fast, why not slip deeper into fasting? I got home from work at noon and drank only water all afternoon, pondering the question and trying to listen for guidance. At 5 pm, I realized that if I water fasted for a day of so, I’d be very much in danger of gorging myself after I started to eat. Even if I ate only Daniel foods, I’d rationalize over eating and then feel guilty. Such activity would totally ruin the gains in new behavior I’ve been given during the past 11 days. So, I ate according to the Daniel pattern, which is quite frugal but I have not been hungry.

The ego knows that I am in a trap. The lure of water fasting is its increased holiness, at least according to “all the books.” If I fall for the lure (water fasting) then I am on the hook for gorging myself and feeling guilty. But, God promises plenty of wisdom to those who even step a little away from dainty foods and do a Daniel Fast. When I started the Daniel Fast, I was given grace to do it. To go further and water fast would be to grab for more than God wanted and I committed to. The ego wants to grab something from God.

As I listened to the voice of reason (warning of the gorging) I was able to tear myself away from the ego and return to the Holy Spirit. The authorities and my fasting peers look at the water fast as a thing better and should be striven after (conditioning). My turning away from this teaching is why I say this was an experience of freedom. I was able to look beyond the thing holding me back (conditioning) and disregard the thing holding me back. If I get to the end of 40 days of a Daniel Fast without cheating, I know I will be free of an old ego pattern. I will have a new pattern whose content is joy not guilt.

I’m impressed. I followed my own guidance, not what all the books say. My ego points to the books as a tool to get me to do what “they” say. When I decide against the ego and do what is right for me and called forth from me by God, I am in joy. Following the ego always gives me guilt.

In ACIM, fasting is not mentioned. This doesn’t mean don’t do it. It means that what ever you do with your body, focus on content not form. The Holy Spirit is using my fasting to teach me about the ego. “Only one Teacher (the Holy Sprit) knows what your reality is. If learning to remove the obstacles to that knowledge is the purpose of the curriculum, you must learn it of Him.” He will teach me using every part of my life.

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