Most major religions practice intermittent fasting as a way for believers to strengthen their connection with God. Outsiders may see this custom as unusual and unnecessary, but, in fact, fasting has a number of benefits, for both the body and the soul.
The goal of intermittent fasting is abstaining from eating for an amount of time, usually 16 or 24 hours. This may sound grueling, and it is, if you’re just starting out. But if you’re committed, you’ll reap the benefits of the practice in no time. Weight loss is the main selling point of intermittent fasting, but it can also improve cardiovascular health and even reduce symptoms of depression. Few are aware, however, of the spiritual benefits of fasting.
Fasting and decision making
We have all been at a crossroads at some point in our life. Usually, the choices we make every day are not significant, so we make them without a second thought. But some decisions aren’t easy. If struggling with a spiritual matter, one may turn to God for guidance, but without a clear head it can be difficult. By fasting, you physically deny your body of nourishment and ignore your hunger, allowing yourself to focus on your mental needs instead. Having achieved this mental clarity, it may be much easier to decide on important matters.
Fasting and discipline
Without discipline, life can quickly become chaotic. Many rely on discipline to stop themselves from making poor choices. Becoming disciplined is no simple matter, though, and most can’t find the willpower to adopt this new way of life. One way to bring discipline into your life is through fasting. Denying your body of food is no easy task, and that’s the point; if you manage to get through a day without eating, you have successfully conquered your body’s need for food. That definitely requires significant discipline!
Fasting and gratitude
We live in such an advanced society that anything we desire is at our fingertips. It’s easy to forget how lucky we are. If we are hungry, we go to the store and have our pick from thousands of food products. For entertainment, we have all sorts of gadgets at our disposal. But sometimes we need to take a step back and be grateful that we’re not living in a place where people don’t even have clean drinking water. Try going a day without food, and you’ll realize that you’re incredibly fortunate to have access to an abundance of resources.
After trying out intermittent fasting for yourself, it may become more clear to you why almost all religions hold this practice in high regard. If you’re feeling the need for a new perspective on life, spend a day without eating and see if you discover anything about yourself.
Written by Natan Rosenfeld