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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Wake Up Call We All Need To Hear About Politics
- The Facts:
We exist in a time, especially with the US in the midst of another election cycle, where we must face the reality that personal transformation and identifying the REAL workings of our world is crucial to creating change.
- Reflect On:
Why are we always baited into left/right politics? Why is so much media focused on taking left or right angles? Are we getting to any real truth by not addressing the real, proven workings of our world? Are we living in a delusion?
Back in 2009 I created a documentary that kickstarted Collective Evolution’s popularity. It focused on taking a big picture, conscious, look at the state of our world and what needs to change. This film was made on a handy cam with a budget of about $800, haha. But it was the beginning of something powerful, and played its role.
One of the key insights I wrote into this film was the idea that we must begin looking at our world and our political system from the standpoint of consciousness – how our inner belief systems and programming create the world we see in our world.
The current challenge we face is that people are not seeing the truth of our world and thus are living in a delusion, or illusion. They are being baited into identifying as either a democrat or a republican. Baited into various heated issues that also don’t address the truth of what’s happening in our world. These societal manipulations are distracting people from something that can actually create change, and this is why the mainstream media and culture in the US is so developed to keep people lost.
Because of this, we must begin to take a new approach to understanding our world that looks not just at policies and people who create ideas that governments push through, but also, and most importantly, the elephant in the room that few political candidates ever discuss in any meaningful way – the deep state.
A combination of personal transformation and viewing the truth of our world couragiously, is the way forward. I’m not stating this in a way where I’m suggesting there is only one pathway forward, I’m stating this as 2 key ingredients that must be brought together to properly understand our world and what we must do to evolve it. This is precisely why for 10 years the formula I built for Collective Evolution’s media has been focused on combining personal transformation with truth.
Currently, many are too afraid to have these honest and grounded conversations as they don’t want the label of being airy-fairy or a conspiracy theorist. Both of these labels, of course, are convenient forms of ridicule that seek not to answer ideas brought forth, but to brush them aside as something people don’t wish to look at and face.
In the video below, I address a detail that is so crucial to our understanding of our world. As the US moves yet again into another cycle of elections, this message is more important now than ever.
To watch full episodes of The Collective Evolution Show every day, sign up for a free 7-day trial to CETV here.
Are Human Beings “Extraterrestrial?” Did We Come From Somewhere Else?
Are we alone in the universe? The obvious answer coming from mainstream science these days is a big no. It’s quite clear that we’re not alone, that’s the general scientific consensus. The next questions to ask are: Has advanced ‘super intelligent’ extraterrestrial life visited our planet in the past, and is extraterrestrial life visiting our planet now?
For years, if you believed that intelligent extraterrestrial life has visited our planet, you would have been put in the ‘conspiracy theorist’ category. But today, that’s not the case. Perhaps this ridicule was as a result of something specific–the very first director of the Central Intelligence Agency said that there was an “official campaign of ridicule and secrecy” when it came to the topic of UFOs.
UFOs are no longer taboo, and their existence has been disclosed thanks to millions of pages of unclassified government documents from around the world. They’ve been photographed and recorded on video as well as tracked on radars. They’ve performed maneuvers and were clocked travelling at speeds no known aircraft on Earth can travel. Furthermore, there are many witnesses, from astronauts to civilians to high ranking military personnel to academicians and more, who have been creating awareness and putting all of the evidence out there for us to see.
We are in a process of ‘disclosure,’ a slow one, and it’s a subject that leaves no aspect of humanity untouched. The implications are huge, from spiritual to technological to scientific and beyond. It really opens up pandora’s box.
The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe is one of the biggest questions in the history of mankind, along with how we got here and who created us. Perhaps they are all interrelated? We have yet to answer these questions, yet God as well as the theory of evolution seem to be heavily pushed on the population in an almost unquestionable manner, leaving humanity in a divide, constantly disagreeing with each other without ever being able to find common ground.
Did we come from outer space? I don’t watch Ancient Aliens, but I am sure many people are aware of the biblical, ancient, and indigenous lore of human beings coming from outer space. There are no shortage of stories regarding this, but it’s a perspective that we never really hear about and one that is never addressed within mainstream academia. That being said, anybody who truly has a passion for this subject is going to go down that rabbit hole.
Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the 6th man to walk on the moon, said he “happens to be privileged enough to be in on the fact that we are not alone on this planet” and that we have “been visited many times.” He is one of many astronauts to express this. It was while coming across his comments that I stumbled upon the comments of Al Warden, who said in a TV interview:
We are the aliens, but we just think they’re somebody else, but we’re the ones who came from somewhere else. Because somebody else had to survive, and they got in a little space craft and they came here and they landed and they started civilization here, that’s what I believe. And if you don’t believe me, go get books on the ancient Sumerians and see what they had to say about it, they’ll tell you right up front.
He seemed pretty confident in his knowing.
He’s not the only one to assert such things, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins were jointly awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize for Physiology for Medicine “for their discoveries concerning the molecular structure of nucleic acids and its significance for information transfer in living material,” and they also shared this belief.
In his book published in 1982, Life Itself, Crick argues that there is no possible way that the DNA molecule could have gotten its start here on Earth and that it had to have come here from somewhere else. Within the mainstream scientific community, the generally accepted theory is that we are the result of a bunch of molecules accidentally bumping into each other, creating life. However, according to Francis, we are the result of what is now known as Directed Panspermia. Crick and a British chemist, Leslie Orgel, published their paper on it in July of 1973.
Their theory explains that, “organisms were deliberately transmitted to earth by intelligent beings on another planet. We conclude that it is possible that life reached the earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic.” (source)
As far as Crick’s thoughts on the theory that we are the result of accidentally bumping into each other, he thinks this was as likely as the assembly of a jumbo jet hit by a hurricane in a junk yard. In other words, he thought the theory held little to no credibility.
The theory of evolution is taught today as a fact, when in reality it has little backing. In fact, 500 scientists in several fields came together a few years to create “A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism.” There are countless studies being published calling into question the theory of evolution. Not long ago, we wrote about a new genetic study that did exactly that, you can read more about that here.
A recent paper published by 33 scientists in the Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology journal suggests that the flourishing of life during the Cambrian era (Cambrian Explosion) originated from the stars. This is another example of how the theory of evolution would be thrown out of whack.
“With the rapidly increasing number of exoplanets that have been discovered in the habitable zones of long-lived red dwarf stars (Gillon et al., 2016), the prospects for genetic exchanges between life-bearing Earth-like planets cannot be ignored. ” (The study)
There is a great little blurb from Cosmos Magazine, one of the few outlets that talked about the study:
With 33 authors from a wide range of reputable universities and research institutes, the paper makes a seemingly incredible claim. A claim that if true, would have the most profound consequences for our understanding of the universe. Life, the paper argues, did not originate on the planet Earth.
The reasons for this are as fascinating as the evidence and claims advanced by the paper itself. Entitled Cause of the Cambrian Explosion – Terrestrial or Cosmic?, the publication revives a controversial idea concerning the origin of life, an idea stretching back to Ancient Greece, known as panspermia.
What about giants? There are several examples of evidence that exist in support of the idea that giants once roamed the Earth. For example, stored in the vaults of the medical school at WITS University, Johannesburg, there is part of an upper leg bone with a hip-joint that would have stood approximately 12 feet tall. It’s been there since the early 1960’s and was found by miners in Northern Namibia. It is one of the most precious and rare specimens available today that clearly indicates the existence of giants in Southern Africa more than 40,000 years ago.
That’s another story in and of itself, and you can read more about that here.
The point of this article is to show you that there is a lot more to the human story than what we’ve been told, yet we are still taught that there are only two acceptable possibilities. The truth is that we don’t know, and the evidence points to the fact that what we are being taught and what we are learning from a young age doesn’t hold nearly as much credibility compared to theories that don’t even get mentioned within the mainstream.
Perhaps there is much more to human history and the story of our origins than what we’re told? Perhaps intellectual authorities have been involved in concealing this information from humanity because it would completely change the collective worldview and the controlling mechanisms used to enslave humanity?
Study Shows That Horses Understand Our Emotions & Remember Us Deeply
- The Facts:
In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth have discovered that horses can recognize and recall human expression.
- Reflect On:
We are all interconnected and it is beautiful to see more studies coming up that clearly showcase just how aware and in tune animals can be and are.
The more in tune with myself I strive to become, the more drawn I am to explore how connected we all are – not solely with one another, but with everything. This, like many other deeper concepts surrounding life, begs to answer the ever-present question of ‘are there other emotionally intelligent beings out there?’
One could argue that their dogs or other galactic beings (if real) could be emotionally intelligent, but as we look at all of the research, it is clear that most living organisms actually display a very obvious intelligence. From lobsters to plants, they have all been known to display some form of intelligence. This is precisely what was revealed when a recent study explored horses and their interaction with humans.
Let’s take a step back real quick. If you have ever owned or spent a lot of time riding with one particular horse, chances are good that you’ve felt some sort of special connection with them — and wondered if horses even like humans. Maybe you’ve felt like they were actually your friend, or a small part of your family, and wanted to know if the feeling was reciprocal. Research is now confirming that that connection isn’t all in your head — and anyone who has ever had a pet before, horse or not, definitely won’t be surprised at some of these recent findings.
In a recent study, researchers at the universities of Sussex and Portsmouth showed domestic horses photographs of humans with either a happy or angry expression on their faces. Then, later on, the horses were introduced to the same people they saw in the photographs, now with neutral expressions. This new study shows that horses can actually understand and remember human emotions, which is something that makes them seem even more magical than they already did.
“Researchers watched the eye movements of horses as they met the photograph subjects in real life. The horses perceived those who had been photographed with an angry face as more threatening.” – UPI
UPI reports that previous research showed horses tend to focus on negative or threatening objects and events with their left eye, as the right hemisphere of their brain is tasked with assessing risk. In the new experiment, researchers found horses stared at subjects who had been photographed with an angry expression using their left eye.
“What we’ve found is that horses can not only read human facial expressions but they can also remember a person’s previous emotional state when they meet them later that day — and, crucially, that they adapt their behavior accordingly,” Karen McComb, a professor at the University of Sussex, said in a news release. “Essentially horses have a memory for emotion.”
Scientists have previously shown horses can recognize expressions, but the latest findings, published this week in the journal Current Biology, are the first to show the mammals can recall an expression linked with an individual’s face.
“We know that horses are socially intelligent animals, but this is the first time any mammal has been shown to have this particular ability,” Portsmouth researcher Leanne Proops said. “What’s very striking is that this happened after just briefly viewing a photograph of the person with a particular emotional expression — they did not have a strongly positive or negative experience with the person.”
This is a beautiful discovery in and of itself as stated above, outside of ourselves there had not been any recording of other mammals showing this ability.
With more of us beginning to turn inward for growth, it is beautiful to see that more and more research is coming to the forefront revealing our fellow animal kingdom as being connected and in tune with us as much as their surroundings. At times when everything else seems to be chaotic, remember to be still. The real magic within us and our connectedness to everything is what oneness consciousness is all about. You are not alone in this world, let alone in the universe. It is in our awareness that we allow bonds that were seen as less than to blossom — it is in our remembrance of Self that we re-member as One with all.
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