As I grow older, one thing becomes clear to me is that most of life is internal. Meaning that much of the struggles and hardship of life are those of the mind. One thing that shines a light on this is fasting.
My purpose behind fasting for 24 hours was to simply see how I would react and feel. There are plenty of health benefits to fasting that can be found elsewhere, but that is not what this will be about. Rather, it’s about that fragile thing in between your ears. The mind’s ability to make small things great and great things small.
Even prior to the fast, as I ate dinner the day before, all I could think about was how starving I will be the next day. Even before the hardship, I was already fearing it, wanting to stay away from it, even thinking about the silliness of fasting and perhaps I should not even bother.
The avoidance is primal, for your mind will always push you towards the path of least resistance.
All of this for just a 24-hour fast. That’s how weak minded we can get. The fast is nothing compared to hardships and struggles of life. This is a self-inflicted struggle. Most struggles come without warning and stay too long. What then? Can’t run away or escape that. In those times, unwanted defense mechanisms might start up once more to avoid the situation. But you cannot avoid life, or at least you should not.
Anyway, the day of fasting came and unsurprisingly, it was not bad. I say unsurprisingly because more often than not, what you fear or you hesitate to do is all in your head, in your mind, your wonderful imagination making monsters out of little cubs and the same was true with the fast. It really was no big deal apart from perhaps one or two moments.
Even these moments were easily overcome when the mind was reigned in. Keep the mind busy on a task, keep it working and occupied, keep it disciplined and all those weak thoughts like the need for pleasure, the need to procrastinate through food, they all take a back seat. I will not say they disappear, for resistant thoughts never really go away, but you can push them back and give them little to no attention.
The human body is a wonderful thing. It’s not a small child that needs care. It can take a few bumps and bruises and be fine. Leave it alone and it’ll survive. You don’t need to feed it every two hours for it to function. You aren’t bedridden because you haven’t had food for an hour.
The body adapts. It’s fine and so are you. The only thing that needs to be taken care of is your mind and your thoughts. Allow it to lead and it will lead you towards the easy choice and easy choices will make life hard, as Jerzy Gregorek says, but if you make the mind follow you, then you can make the hard choice and hard choices lead to easy life.
Perhaps a 24-hour fast is not worth such a conclusion. It might not be difficult enough, it might not put enough stress on you or create enough hardships for you, and this could be true. But for me, it’s just a simple exercise to see my reaction. The same goes for high-intensity exercising. I want to see how I feel in order to gauge how I might do when an unexpected hardship comes my way.
It’s a precaution to life.