Why Fasting Matters


Fasting has always been one of the prescribed spiritual exercises of all the great religions. There is something about denying the senses, in this case taste, in order to experience what the senses on fail to perceive. When we shut out our sense, we encounter the ineffable which the senses cannot sense. We see ultimate beauty when we close our eyes. We hear the hymn of the universe when we close our ears. We feel the touch of the divine when we keep still and motionless. We get a foretaste of eternity when we fast.

Food is essential to life. Indeed, we eat in order to live. But increasingly people live to eat. Gluttony, like anger and pride and lust and greed, is abroad across the earth. There is an epidemic of obesity. Many of the leading diseases and causes of death are due to overindulgence in eating; like diabetes, heart diseases, and even some forms of cancer. We have forgotten the things of the spirit and have been satisfying only our physical and material hunger.

In the past, it was perhaps easier to fast because there was in fact often not enough food. But these days of plenty and affluence, we often have more than enough to eat. And more choices. With more occasions to feast rather than to fast. We have been so hooked on  material things and physical pleasures, we have abandoned the things of the spirit with gay abandon.

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