Spiritual fasting can benefit any person who engages in it. In fact, those who regularly engage in spiritual fasting testify to its good effects. If you are thinking of spiritual fasting as being exclusive to one religion, think again. The truth is that spiritual fasting is a common practice in many different religions.
In order to fully experience the benefits of spiritual fasting, there are certain things that you can do. Each fasting experience will be different from one person to another, but the basic guidelines are the same.
Begin your spiritual fast with a clear goal in mind.
Fasting – whether it is for spiritual or physical purposes – needs to have a clear goal in order for it to be successful. Spiritual fasting can have a wide variety of specific end goals. It is vital that before you embark on your journey, you identify what it is exactly that you want to achieve.
The goals of a spiritual fast are not limited by any strict rules. It really depends on you. You may want to fast spiritually prior to making a major decision in your life. You can go on a spiritual fast if you’re facing a difficult problem. You may want to fast for healing purposes. Whatever the reason, the important thing is that it is clear to you. Without this goal, then you might as well not go on a spiritual fast.
Prepare yourself spiritually and physically.
Preparing for a spiritual fast is as important as going on the fast itself. In fact, how you prepare yourself just might make a big difference. The preparation might even dictate how successful your fast will be.
Preparation for a spiritual fast is two-fold. One, you have to prepare yourself physically. While there are many variations of spiritual fasting, oftentimes it also involves a restricted diet. If you are to engage in the physical aspect of fasting as well, you have to make sure that your body will be able to endure it. You ought to check with the doctor as much as possible. More so, you should also slowly lessen your food intake prior to your fast. Two, you need to prepare yourself spiritually. Depending on your belief system or your faith, your preparations will vary.
Avoid telling everyone about your spiritual fast.
Fasting spiritually is not something that needs to be broadcast to the whole world. It is a private activity that, ideally, should be between you and your God. Of course, some people will have to know – maybe your doctor, maybe a spiritual partner. The idea is simply not to announce that you are going on a spiritual fast to those who do not need to know. Otherwise, it just might prove to be a distraction for you – a distraction that you do not need.
Do not equate the number of days to the quality of your spiritual fast.
There is no prescribed length for spiritual fasting. There is a common misconception that the longer you fast, the better it is. This is not always the case although some people do not experience results until after several days of fasting. What matters most is the quality of your experience and not the number of days; so don’t count the days. Instead, focus on your goal and on achieving it.
Avoid the normal distractions of your daily routine.
Spiritual fasting is meant to be very focused. You need all the help that you can get to free yourself from distraction. Try to eliminate these distractions yourself. From the get go, decide to NOT turn the TV on. Decide not to go online to watch movies or chat with friends. You can make your own rules before you actually fast. The idea is to equip yourself so that you can focus on your spiritual fast instead of being distracted by the thousand little things in your day.
Avoid physical activity.
Remember that during your spiritual fast, you will not be consuming as much food as you normally do. This means that you will be feeling a little weak – even lightheaded. You might even encounter difficult going about your normal routine. As such, it is a very good idea to avoid as much physical activity as you can. If you normally go to the gym – forget it during your fast. Avoid going around the mall to walk or shop.
What you can do instead is to meditate and ponder on your goals. Think about what got you fasting in the first place. Think on the things that you need to. Pray.
Stay away from temptation.
While you are fasting, it is wise to stay away from the things you are temporary eliminating from your life. If you are not eating certain kinds of food, avoid going to places where you can see and smell food! If you are fasting from certain activities, avoid anything that will remind you of them. To do otherwise would be akin to torture while you are fasting. More so, you will only be taking away the benefits of your fast.
Get enough sleep.
Sleep is essential to regaining your strength. Without your usual food intake, your body is not functioning at maximum. As such, you need as much rest as you can get, and sleep is one way to do that.
Break your fast gradually.
At the end of your fast, do not fall into the temptation of jumping right into the thick of things. Do not eat everything that you can get your hands on. Instead, break your fast as slowly as you can. Eat soft food at first and stick to more liquids. Work your way to your normal consumption gradually.