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A Brief Look At The History Of Fasting Through Various Religions

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Fasting has become increasingly popular over the last few years, but why the sudden interest? While people have been fasting for thousands of years for religious reasons, it seems now people are starting to understand that there is a lot more to fasting than just religious devotion. Why do so many religions incorporate fasting as a practice? Let’s have a look at fasting throughout history and across various religions and cultures of the world.

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Fasting Throughout History

Pythagoras was an advocate of fasting and during the 14th century it was also practiced by St. Catherine of Siena. The famous Renaissance doctor Paracelsus dubbed fasting the “physician within.” Those devoted to this ancient practice claim that it brings physical and spiritual renewal.

In other early cultures, a fast was often demanded before going to war, or as part of a coming of age ritual. Native North Americans would use fasting to avoid catastrophes like famine.

Although it may be hard to believe now, fasting has actually played a key role in all of the world’s major religions, except for Zoroastrianism, which prohibits it. Fasting has been associated with penitence and self-control. Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox followers, for example, observe a 40-day fast during Lent, the period in which Christ fasted for 40 days in the desert.

Christianity – Catholicism

Nowadays, fasting entails a reduction of food intake to one large meal and two small meals that, combined, make less than the large one. No food may be eaten in between and meat must be avoided. This fast is enforced during penitential periods, like Lent, every Friday, sometimes Wednesdays and Saturdays, the Ember days (three days a week for four times a year) and a few specific holidays, and the day before some big feasts.

This practice has adapted a lot over the years, becoming less strict over time. Historically, the “Black Fast” consisted of a single meal per day that was only to be eaten after sunset. Meat, eggs, dairy, and alcohol were completely forbidden. During the Holy Week, which is the last week of Lent, the meal could only consist of bread, salt, herbs, and water. These mandates weakened in the 14th century, however, with the meal shifting to lunch and an evening snack incorporated. In the 19th century, a morning snack was allowed, and in the 20th century, you could then substitute fasting with prayer and charity. Eastern Catholics are a lot stricter during their fasting periods, eating only one meal during the day and avoiding animal products.

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Mormonism

In Mormon tradition they “Fast Sunday” by abstaining from two meals the first Sunday every month for a 24-hour widow. During this Sunday, members of the Church share their personal testimonies with their community.

Islam

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars Of Islam. The others include prayer, charity, pilgrimage, and a declaration of faith, . Ramadan, a holiday that requires fasting, is observed for a month each year, and during this time no food is allowed during daylight hours. This includes alcohol and smoking. There are also non-obligatory fasting days, which include all Mondays and Thursdays, or every other day, while certain holy days, especially those involving a feast, forbid fasting.

In the Islam religion, the fast begins with setting an intention, which can be private. If the fast is broken, one must fast an extra day, but if it’s broken with sex, one must free a slave, fast for two months, or feed/clothe 60 people.

Fasting is believed to bring you closer to God, creates solidarity with your fasting brothers and sisters, helps you to empathize with the less fortunate. It’s also seen as a way to control desire. Fasting without a spiritual intention, however, is viewed as simply starvation.

Judaism

Traditional Judaism involves six fasting days throughout the year, during which time one cannot have food or drink from sunset to the following sunset (24 hours). During Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av, the following restrictions also apply: washing oneself, wearing leather, using perfume, and having sex. The other four days of fasting do not have these restrictions.

Buddhism

Monks and nuns following the rules of Vinyana do not eat after their noon meal. This makes for a lengthy fasting period each day, but they do not consider this fasting. Rather, it is just a regular regime that aids meditation and good health.

There are eight precepts that prohibit other activities like killing, stealing, sex, wrong speech, intoxication, singing/dancing/music/cosmetics, etc. Devout Buddhists follow these rules at all times, while lay Buddhists follow them on every Uposatha day.

Hinduism

Vratas, a religious practice that involves certain obligations, are part of the Hindu religion. Complete or partial fasting is one such vrata. During a vrata period, one must remain clean, be celibate, speak the truth, practice forbearance, abstain from meat, and perform certain rituals. Once begun, a vrata should never be left unfinished, nor should another be started.

Monthly fasting periods include the sunset before to the sunrise after the Ekadashi — lunar phases that occur twice per month. These are ideally dry fasts, without water. The various deities have different fasting days. Shiva, for instance, requires fasting on a Monday, while Vishnu requires fasting on a Thursday.

A strict fast for Hindus means no food or water from sunset the day before to 48 minutes after sunrise the following day, or around 36 hours.

Jainism

Fasting is common among the Jains, who incorporate many forms of fasting into their daily lives, including not eating to satiation. Complete fasting here involves intaking either no food and no water or only boiled water (meant to ensure all microorganisms are killed off). All Jains are also strict vegetarians.

In this religion, fasting is believed to keep the demands of the body in check, uplifting the soul and resolving accumulated bad karma. While one is fasting they should worship, serve the monks and nuns, read scripture, meditate, and perform acts of charity. Fasting is most common on the 8th and 14th days of the moon cycle and three times a year for over a week during festivals.

Consclusion

There are many more religions that incorporate fasting into their holy guidelines and for various reasons, but one thing they all seem to have in common is the idea that abstaining from food brings one closer to God. I think the simple act of taking away any form of escape causes us to be more self-reflective and less distracted, thereby bringing us closer to God (or Source, or whatever higher power you believe in) — which many believe is found within. If you are not religious, you can still practice fasting of your own volition, picking a style that suits your needs, like a weekly or monthly 24-hour fast, daily intermittent fasting, or a three day fast over certain celebratory days. What do you think? Do you practice fasting, and if so, what benefits have you observed? Have you felt closer to God? Please share with us.

Related CE articles on fasting:

The Complete Guide To Fasting & Reversing Type 2 Diabetes: A Special Interview With Dr. Jason Fung

Neuroscientist Shows What Fasting Does To Your Brain & Why Big Pharma Won’t Study It

Why Researchers Are Seeking FDA Approval For Fasting & Caloric Restriction For Cancer Treatment

A Quick Important Notice:

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Consciousness

Notable Scientist Publishes A Book About ‘Real Magic’ That Nobel Laureates Are Endorsing

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Dean Radin, chief scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, has published a book called "Real Magic." It has received praise from multiple scientists, including Nobel Laureates.

  • Reflect On:

    Despite the fact that controlled scientific experiments have produced significant results, this type of study is still labelled as pseudoscience by many academics, simply because it challenges what they've been trained to believe.

Is magic real? That depends on how you define it, but yes, I believe ‘magic’ is definitely real, and I’m clearly not the only one. Cases of ‘supernormal’ powers and ‘magic’ of all kinds have been reported throughout history and across almost all cultures–at least until religion was invented and these topics were ushered into the realm of the ‘demonic.’

Proponents of what we now call ‘magic’  include nearly all ancient literature from all parts of the world, from the Vedic texts and the yoga sutras, all the way to Moses, Jesus, Milarepa and Mohammed. Donald Lopez Jr., a professor of Buddhist and Tibetan Studies and the University of Michigan provides a great example in describing the Buddha:

With this enlightenment, he was believed to possess all manner of supernormal powers, including full knowledge of each of his own past lives and those of other beings, the ability to know others’ thoughts, the ability to create doubles of himself, the ability to rise into the air and simultaneously shoot fire and water from his body…Although he passed into nirvana at the age of eighty-one, he could have lived “for an aeon or until the end of the aeon” if only he had been asked to do so. (source)

The crazy thing is there are also modern day examples, but they mostly come from the black budget government programs. In 2016, I published a well-sourced article providing multiple examples from a CIA document that confirms the existence of humans with ‘special abilities’ who are able to do ‘impossible’ things. You can access that here.

‘Real Magic’

A book recently published by the Chief Scientist at the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dean Radin, entitled “Real Magic” has received some great reviews. The main premise is the idea that a hidden power resides within every single human being, a power tied to our consciousness, a power that makes phenomena like psychokinesis, remote viewing, and precognition not only possible but something that will perhaps one day be a normal part of all our lives. The book offers a vision of a scientifically informed magic and explains why magic will play a key role in the frontiers of science.

This falls into the realm of a field of study called non-material science. Nikola Tesla was a huge proponent of this, as he had said that the day humanity begins to study this subject matter is the day that humanity will advance at an exponential rate.

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Far From “Pseudoscience”

Dr. Carl Jung once stated, “I shall not commit the fashionable stupidity of regarding everything I cannot explain as a fraud.” This is something we should all hold in our minds as we examine this or other claims that are not part of our current perception.

The amount of statistically significant results when it comes to this reality, usually dubbed as “parapsychology,” is very significant. We are talking about hundreds, if not thousands of studies that have been conducted worldwide for decades.

There seems to be a deep concern that the whole field will be tarnished by studying a phenomenon that is tainted by its association with superstition, spiritualism and magic. Protecting against this possibility sometimes seems more important than encouraging scientific exploration or protecting academic freedom. But this may be changing. Cassandra Vieten, PhD and President/CEO at the Institute of Noetic Sciences (source)

A lot of the statistical results for parapsychology are just as strong, if not in some cases more significant, than a lot of the results which emerge from hard sciences, like physics and mechanical engineering. The Department of Defense has stated that results in this area are a clear sign that these phenomena are real, despite the fact that they are still somewhat unexplainable. As far back as 1999, a statistics professor even published a paper showing the results dealing with parapsychology and mind-body connection are a lot stronger than the results used to approve some of our medications. That study was done by Dr. Jessica Utts, as statistics professor in California who had this to say about Radin’s book:

Real Magic illustrates the limitations of 20th century science and proposes a more comprehensive view that incorporates ideas that have been associated with magic throughout the ages. Blending history, humor, and plausible hypotheses, Dean Radin illustrates that there is a staggering amount of evidence for a broader view of science that offers hope for the future of humanity.” 

Another review:

“A thought-provoking book. The author makes a convincing case for the reality and significance of magic.” —Brian Josephson, Nobel Laureate in Physics and Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Cambridge

Today, hundreds of scientists are coming together to emphasize that matter is not the only reality. They’ve created a manifesto, and you can find links and access more information about this initiative, which started a few years ago, in an article we published here.

“Some scientists are confident that we already know what is and is not possible. But the truth is that science is very much in its infancy. To advance our understanding requires bold excursions into domains some might consider heretical, including esoteric legends about magic that have persisted for thousands of years. This is what Dean Radin sets out to do with Real Magic. In my judgment, it succeeds in blazing new trails. Well worth the read.”  Kary Mullis PhD, Nobel Laureate (Chemistry)

The Global Elite Use Magic

While talking about magic in this sense, it’s also important to mention the global elite, and the idea that they also use metaphysical/magical ‘knowing’ and concepts. Unfortunately, they do so not for the joy of discovery, or from a place of good intention, but from a selfish, egoic place, a place that is in service to self, and not in service to others. This is a big point to consider when discussing whether humanity needs to take down the global elite in order to evolve. You can read more about my thoughts regarding magic and the global elite in the article ‘How Some of The World’s Elite Use Black Magic Rituals To Conjure Up Entities For More Power.’

I believe that as human consciousness evolves and we become more aware of who we are, and our capabilities, we will also realize that love, compassion, and empathy are all needed for us to thrive. Once we completely grasp this, I believe, these ‘abilities’ that lay dormant within us will begin to show themselves more and more.

The Takeaway

The takeaway here is to keep in open mind, and to recognize that what we think we know is always subject to change. Sometimes these things take a while, even if a sufficient amount of evidence has been provided. This type of study opens up new understandings about the nature of our reality, and would change ‘science’ and the current laws that govern it forever. Non-material science truly represents the next scientific revolution.

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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Consciousness

Note To Selfie: Drop The Mask

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    On social media, it's common to see pictures that don't truly represent us or the situations we are capturing. In many cases, we photograph ourselves 10 - 15 times before selecting the 'accurate' photo we will use.

  • Reflect On:

    Why do we spend so much time creating an image of ourselves, even if it is not accurate?

What if we all put down our masks? What if we agreed, that there would be no more disguises? What if we allowed each other to be our authentic self? Imagine the effect on Instagram. It boggles the mind.

Too many people believe the content uploaded on social media is actually showing us truth. Far from it. The material chosen to be uploaded to Facebook, or liked on Instagram, bears little resemblance to true life. Each photo has been carefully chosen after taking a mind-numbing series of retakes.

Each photo must be meticulously studied to ensure the subject looks nothing like the real thing. After all, the real thing isn’t going to garner followers. No one uploads pictures of themselves returning bottles to the beer store in their slippers, or cleaning out the kitty litter. Followers equate to love. More follower = more love.

We are terrified that people will see our true self and our mundane lives won’t be nearly glamorous enough. So we take 12 pictures before deciding one is good enough.

Note to selfie: Make sure you extend your arms and snap the picture from above. You must be looking up. You will look younger. Social media doesn’t like wrinkles … bad skin … or skinny lips.

“Before I started being body positive on Instagram I would’ve posted the photo on the left (sucking in my tummy as much as possible) and said something along the lines of ‘gained a bit of fat this week’ when in reality, what I look relaxed currently is like the photo on the right.”

The harm that has been done to our psyche is profound. Apparently, the psyche is quite gullible. It does believe the stories shown on social media are true. So our psyche starts putting on some pretty outlandish masks to keep up with the Jones’ psyche. It is a constant challenge to keep up with the Joneses. The Joneses can’t even keep up with Joneses. No one can. It’s a sucker’s game.

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What is the result of wearing a mask? – depression, anxiety, frustration, shame. The “Mask-Wearer” knows it’s not true. And they are terrified of being found out. Imagine the fear of being outed as a fraud. And more unsettling is this; if someone falls for that mask you’ve been wearing, don’t believe they’ve fallen for you. They are enamoured with the mask: the image. And the image isn’t real.

Let’s bring a Revolution of Real. Put down the mask. And promise yourself that you will never be anything other than your most authentic self. Masks wear very thin, very fast. Authentic beauty lasts forever.

recommended Read: Instagram User Reveals The Truth Behind Those Fitness Photos

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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Consciousness

7 Thought-Provoking Short Films You Can Watch Now For Free Online

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Film has the ability to capture our emotions and move us in what are sometimes very productive ways. We'll show you 7 thought-provoking short films you might love watching.

  • Reflect On:

    How do these films make you feel from watching them? How do they relate to your own life? What action can you take after watching these?

The world of film has always captivated me. Whether it be its ability to present a supernatural reality I’ll never get to experience, or its ability to accurately depict an emotion I can relate to, there really is something surreal about going to or staying in to watch a movie.

And while the subscription numbers to popular film and television streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime certainly suggest that I likely don’t need to sell you on choosing to watch them, I do believe that a pitch needs to be made for the particular variety of them that I’m suggesting within this article.

That variety of course, is short films. The unofficial younger sibling to feature-length films that aside from those that happen to play before a popular Pixar film, or those that are nominated for an Academy Award, often go largely unnoticed by the masses. So I’d like to present a list of 7 thought-provoking independently made short films that you can watch for free online now as part of the Spirit Film Festival until the end of October.

1. Uncaptured

How often do you consciously choose to sit in silence? And better yet, is it even readily available to you? The short film Uncaptured explores the emotional and physical impact that setting aside conscious time to be in silence can have on the thoughts, programs and belief systems we have stored within us.

Through a series of interviews we are given insight in alignment with the famous Thomas Carlyle quote the film presents just after its title card: “Silence is as deep as eternity; Speech is as shallow as time.” WATCH UNCAPTURED

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2. The Nine Billion Names of God

Based on the book by Arthur C. Clarke -most infamously known as to co-writer of 2001: A Space Odyssey with Stanley Kubrick –The Nine Billion Names of God tells the story of a Tibetan monk who seeks to list all of the names of God with the help an automatic sequence computer.

Based in 1957, the short film is beautifully shot and is carried from start to finish by a beautiful score, perfectly setting the stage for a thought-provoking adventure. WATCH THE NINE BILLIONS NAMES OF GOD

3. Leave Of Presence

If you were asked to list what would make you happy in life, a well-paying job and vibrant social life would likely make the list. Yet the presence of both of those elements didn’t stop Sudha Suthanthiram from dropping everything to head to India in search of her true calling.

This short narrative film runs less than 5 minutes in length yet it offers great food for thought for all of us questioning our purpose in life. WATCH LEAVE OF PRESENCE

4. Nectar of Devotion

Nectar of Devotion shares the fascinating transition made by the one-time frontman for an acid rock band into GuruGanesha Singh Khalsa. While his former life offered much of the surface-level pleasures that so many of us fantasize about, GuruGanesha delves into how his new life has created a happiness unlike ever before.

The short film runs under 7 minutes in length and goes into detail on the difficulties associated with making the transition and how his new kirtan rock band is making the type of impact he always desired having on others. WATCH NECTAR OF DEVOTION

5. Graham: A Dog’s Story

Whether or not you consider yourself a dog lover, Graham: A Dog’s Story is a funny and touching short film told from the perspective of a dog. From being introduced into the family, to “letting go” we’re led through so many of the stages that owners and their favorite pets often go through in life without much attention.

While the short film is carried by a comedic voiceover, it delves into many unexpected stages of a dog’s life including the impact that they have on us even long after they are gone. WATCH GRAHAM: A DOG’S STORY

6. Bekia

In just 6 minutes, Bekia powerfully shares the story of Hamdy, a seller of used goods doing everything he can to make a living on the streets of Cairo. Director Alia Adel effectively takes us into a world that most of us would never have otherwise known about.

The short is beautifully shot and well worth 6 minutes of your life. WATCH BEKIA

7. I Am Here

I Am Here is a unique short put together by the National Film Board of Canada that follows a mysterious animated travellers journey to discover the origin of life. Carried by a riveting score by composer duo Menalon, the film delves into themes and subject matter we would all benefit from pondering on.

Running just over 5 minutes in length, I Am Here manages to take a look at a lot of the questions so many of us have buried within us. WATCH I AM HERE

A Quick Important Notice:

The demand for Collective Evolution's content is bigger than ever, except ad agencies and social media keep cutting our revenues. This is making it hard for us to continue.

In order to stay truly independent, we need your help. We are not going to put up paywalls on this website, as we want to get our info out far and wide. For as little as $3 a month, you can help keep CE alive!

SUPPORT CE HERE!

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