Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Fasting Day 2

I am still fascinated by the friendly intimacy of living in a small town. Yesterday, I ordered a book from Amazon.com and I had it shipped overnight. When I got home from work today at 3:15, it wasn’t on my porch. Now, I was thinking about how I would complain to Amazon because I paid for the shipping but didn’t get the book. Then, while I was out running, several streets away from my house, the UPS guy came up behind me in his truck. He had the door open. As he drove past me, he told me he had left something on my porch. That was so cute. Only in a small town is Buster Brown that personal.

Today, I drank only green tea; no coffee. Of course green tea has caffeine, but much less than coffee. Prior to beginning the Daniel Fast, I could not conceive of a day without coffee. Yet today, in the spirit of Daniel, under the power of a spiritual intention, I was able to go one day without coffee. It validates the theory of AA’s Step 2: Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. Drinking coffee is insane. It is an addiction indigenous to our society. We are conditioned to think this drug is ok and to rely on it. Caffeine addiction is similar to worshipping idols. It defiles the body and corrupts the mind. I’ve known this; but been unable to stop on my own will power. But under the Daniel Fast, I made a change to a habit and I am coming to believe that kicking the habit is possible for me. Every time I thought of getting a cup of coffee at work, I thought, “I am doing a Daniel Fast,” and I knew that one little decision to disregard the power God had invested in me would be a win for the ego. I would once again be in its prison. When the Book of Daniel says, “Daniel was determined not to be defiled,” that is my statement, “Laura is determined to get out of ego jail.” God has helped me to do something I could not do on my own will power. In my sane condition, I am determined to stick with God. This determination is the same as the ACIM tenet that the miracle worker accepts Atonement for themselves.

God’s help was silent and imperceptible. I got the help, but there was no burning bush. It would be easy to say, “Well how do you know it was God?” I know because of the spiritual circumstances and decisions and intentions surrounding the miracle. I am doing and believing what I could not do or believe on my own power. I am powerless without God’s help.

Fasting has traditionally been known as a spiritual practice of self-denial. Less known is the fact that it is not for penance, or for sacrificial bargaining with God; but for intimacy with God and for the benefit of others. We deny the small self in order to emphasize the needs of others or to focus on spirituality. These ideas (denial of self, focus on God and benefit of others) fit extremely well with A Course in Miracles (ACIM). Denial of the self in order to focus on God is the same as making a decision to deny the ego voice and listen only to the Voice for God. The ACIM Text encourages wanting the Kingdom and giving up everything else. Fasting may help a person to do this. The ACIM practice of forgiveness is the same as fasting for the benefit of others. Traditionally, when someone fasted, they also prayed. ACIM prayer is the practice of forgiveness. So it doesn’t mention fasting at all in the Text, except if fasting is suffering. In fact, the body is an illusion. But it is also a communication device. Fasting may help me communicate with others if it is for positive reasons. Fasting because I think I am a sinner makes no sense in the ACIM system because there is no sin and God is not angry. Fasting is an extremely peaceful practice; the non-activity of fasting allows the mind to heal, the body is detoxed and healed, and anger subsides. Fasting practices at least two of three lessons of the Holy Spirit: teach peace to have it, and be vigilant only for God and His Kingdom. Fasting decreases the belief that the body is real because it breaks the ego’s laws.

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