Excerpts from Fasting…the Elixir of Life by Gabriel Cousens
…I am inspired by the awesome healing power of spiritual fasting. It may be the single most powerful self-healing approach there is. Spiritual fasting actually is a ‘slowing’. The key difference between spiritual fasting and regular fasting is the intent. The intent is to heal on every level of one’s being. This includes not only the physical body, but also the emotional , mental, and spiritual bodies.
The healing includes examining the way we live in the world. …We reflect on the ancient Essene question: “Dost thou sacrifice the eternal for that which dieth in an hour?”
To remove ourselves from our daily context we have an opportunity to look at our lives from a fresh vantage point. Spiritual fasting can be symbolically experienced as a mystical death. By the physical act of fasting we let go of the body and by the act of meditating we dissolve the mind. A seven day fast is just enough to allow us to face our own death, if we chose to direct our attention in that direction.
Facing one’s own death creates the context for the potential of a spiritual rebirth. This rebirth into a new life is the secret of spiritual fasting. It is what allows new meaning into our life. Spiritual willpower, often depleted from our efforts to swim against the current of how most people live in the world, is renewed and fills our veins and arteries with new strength. The poet saint Rumi, in his book, Open Secrets, says it poetically:
“When you fast, good habits gather like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon’s ring (magical signet ring said to have been possessed by King Solomon, which variously gave him the power to command demons, genies, or to speak with animals). Don’t give it to some illusion and lose your power, but even if you have , if you’ve lost all will and control, they come back when you fast, like soldiers appearing out of the ground, pennants flying above them.”
The willingness to rebirth yourself is a key to the healing process. In the fasting process, the toxins are released from the body and mind in a way that our body-mind armor melts away and we become vulnerable to the natural healing forces within. As our defenses drop we begin to heal on every level.
It is difficult to pinpoint exactly why and how the transforming power of fasting works. It seems to be connected on some level to the freeing of the vital life force of the body to rebuild, revitalize, and recharge the body. The curative power of the vital force helps release physical, emotional, mental toxins.
Healing also happens faster than normally expected with Rieki and Massage. Part of the explanation for this is that physical toxins appear to act as anchors for the emotional and mental toxins in the body. With the release of physical toxins the emotional and mental toxins lose some of their grip on us.
Many people think the phrase “toxins in the body” is just some food faddist jargon, but research over the last hundred years shows that these toxins actually do exist. These toxins have a tremendous negative impact on our physical, mental, and spiritual well being. Most of these toxins come from what is called intestinal toxemia. This is the result of an overgrowth of putrefactive pathogenic intestinal bacteria. These bacteria give off toxins which are absorbed into the blood stream which then deposits them in the different tissues in the body including the brain. Intestinal toxemia is primarily caused by a high protein low complex carbohydrate diet often combined with overeating, late night eating, poor elimination habits, intestinal diseases, toxic emotions centerd in the stomach, small and large intestine, and constipation.
Intestinal toxemia is not a new diagnosis. In 1933, Anthony Basler, M.D. a professor of gastroenterology summarized his 25 year study of 5000 cases by saying: ” Every physician should realize that the intestinal toxemias are the most important primary and contributing causes of many disorders and diseases of the human body”.
Dr. H.H. Boeker as far back as 1923 said, “It is now universally conceded that auto-intoxication is the underlying causes of an exceptionally large group of symptom complexes.”
Research by doctors in the early 1920’s shows that when intestinal toxemia is removed a disappearance of such mental symptoms such as: sluggishness, dullness and stupidity, loss of concentration and /or memory, mental incoordination, irritability, lack of confidence, excessive and useless worry, exaggerated introspection, hypocondriasis, phobias, depression, melancholy, obsessions, delusions, hallucinations, suicidal tendencies, some forms of senility, and delirium,and general anxiety. Many gastrointestinal conditions, endocrine conditions, headaches, various forms of low back pain, allergies, and cardiac irregularities are also reported to be healed by treating the intestinal toxemia.
Many of these bowel-generated toxins such as ammonia, indole, indican, skatole, guanidine, phenol, and histamine clear after even seven days of juice fasting. I often observe in the fasting participants that by four days of fasting, concentration seems to improve, creative thinking expands, depression lifts, insomnia stops, anxieties fade, the mind becomes more tranquil, and a natural joy begins to appear. It is my hypothesis that when the physical toxins are cleared from the brain cells, mind-brain function automatically and significantly improves and spiritual capacity expands. Even though we have taken people on spiritual fasts twice a year for the last 5 years, I am continually amazed by the power of this process. Paul Bragg, one of the fathers of the health movement in the U.S., expressed this phenomenon simply: “the greatest discovery by modern man/woman is the power to rejuvenate himself/herself physically, mentally, and spiritually with rational fasting.”
Fasting feeds the spirit. It allows our physical bodies to turn to the assimilation of the Divine or cosmic pranic energy from the biochemical energy off of which we normally live. In this process, the movement of all levels of energy in the body are enhanced including the spiritualizing force of the Kundalini. The appetite fades after the first few days and one’s attachment to food diminishes, the mind then becomes more free to merge into the higher states of God communion.
The more regularly we are in touch with the Divine, the easier it is for us to be motivated to live in a way that will continue to enhance spiritual development. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “fasting will bring spiritual rebirth… the light of the world will illuminate you when you fast and purify yourself.” This is the truth.