Ten Day Fast
Experiences from my ten day fast (April 21-30, 2007)
|Note - Long fasts are best to do under
supervision. You must know how to go into the fast, and
how to safely resume eating again. You should know the
possible signs that you may need to break your fast. So
please be safe.
Some benefits (written one week after the fast).
1. Improved and greatly strengthened digestion.
2. Enhanced clarity of mind and increased focus.
3. Greater contentment in the present moment.
4. Intensified taste sensations (simple food tastes super!)
5. Relief from intestinal pain.
6. More appreciation for nature and simplicity.
7. Reduced fear and anxiety about life in general.
8. Decreased attachment to material possessions.
9. More patience with the normal pace of life.
10. More awareness and engagement in activities.
Day 1 - I happened to open up the scriptures to Psalms, and I decided to read the 23rd Psalm. It really spoke to me, and I decided to memorize one verse a day, and meditate upon that verse.
The first verse is, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want." Now, in a fasting state, this really intrigued me. I shall not want. Now I'm not overlooking the first part, "The Lord is my Shepherd", but I did think a lot about not wanting.
We usually are in a perpetual state of want. We do have a Lord who is our Shepherd, and because of this we don't need to want.
What is the opposite of wanting? I suppose being content with what we have is the opposite. So we could also say, "The Lord is my Shepherd, I will be content!" What a simple mantra.
What are we content with? Well, think of the sheep and how simply their needs are satisfied. All they need is some grass and a place to lie down. They need nothing more. The sheep do not concern themselves that they may not have enough to eat tomorrow.
"Have no anxiety for the morrow," Jesus said. Would the Lord our Shepherd be pleased if we wanted a little less, and enjoyed what we have a lot more? I think so. It's OK to have. He didn't say, "I shall not have", but rather "I shall not want".
Regarding food, do we enjoy each bite, or are we quickly wanting the next bite? Savoring each bite is one of the key principles in the Harmony Earth Energy Diet.
The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want. Can you go through an entire day not wanting anything? Try it.
|Day 1 - Physical
Today I really enjoyed the fast. A little bit of stomach grumbling but no real hunger. I enjoyed just snuggling under the blankets and feeling each heartbeat and noticing each inbreath and outbreath.
I just released all roles, obligations, duties, expectations, needs, wants, resentments, and anything else to Jesus. I just lay there and rested deeply and profoundly, just being.
Interestingly, I could only drink a gallon of alkaline water. On a typical day, I drink much more than a gallon.
In the afternoon I walked five times up and down the hill by our house. In the evening I had an interesting reaction. I was reading to my boys, and all of a sudden felt weak and lightheaded, and broke out in a sweat. This is similar to some blood sugar reactions I've had rarely in the past. It passed quickly.
Day 2 - This day was a bit more difficult. The first part of the second verse of Psalms 23 is, "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures".
I am trying to lie down as much as possible during this fast. Lying down involves surrender, yielding, and submission. The fasting process requires lots of yielding, as it strips oneself of the usual busyness and ego.
Surrender is looked upon by the world as a negative activity, but truly surrendering to God is actually a great victory over the natural man.
About the green pastures, I don't need to use my visualization skills for images of green. I just look out the window. We live near hundreds of acres of green farmland, and in the fall the sheep come to pasture on it.
Green and purple are my favorite colors. Purple usually is seen in nature only in fairly small portions, buy green expanses are common. The greens and the blues predominate on this planet of ours. Green represents fertility, growth, and abundance, as well as being a great healing color.
|Day 2- Physical
Yes, today was more difficult in some ways. I had to focus more to keep my mind from thinking about food. I felt a lot weaker (surprisingly so).
I actually had a hard time getting through my afternoon flexibility exercises and brief walk. Today was rainy and the hill was muddy so I just did ten laps up and down our long driveway.
Each morning and afternoon I do my "stretchy workout" which consists of hanging upside down on my chin up bar, some bridges and yoga, and other rhythmic stretching exercises. It only lasts about 15 minutes.
On usual (non-fasting) days I do this little workout at each break from my work, or about five times per day.
Day 3 - This third day was a little better. The second part of the second verse in Psalms 23 is, "He leadeth me beside the still waters".
Water is an apt subject to meditate upon since water is the only thing I'm having on this fast, other than light, air, and spirit. Still waters are calm and peaceful and this imagery is one reason people enjoy the 23rd Psalm.
The still waters may be calm and not boisterous, but they are still flowing. Constantly flowing water naturally purifies itself. You can read more about flowing water and energy in my energy and water newsletter.
Stillness is also a benefit to fasting. One scripture says, "Be still, and know that I Am God".
|Day 3- Physical
I've done a lot of talking to my body during this fast. I've asked various parts of my body to forgive me for the overwork and abuse I've put them through in the past. I've also told parts of my body that I forgive them for causing me pain and discomfort.
Most of the day I'm just lying in bed. I get up in the morning and have some family time reading to everyone. Then I work about an hour and go back to bed. I stay in bed from about 9:00 to 4:00 during the day. Then I get up and do my little workout and walk and then read or work a bit more. Then I join the family for the evening.
I only actually sleep about two hours during the day, so I have lots of time to be still and think. I've been doing mental mountain running on my favorite wilderness and mountain trails, and also mental landscaping, visualizing in great detail how I intend to work and sculpture parts of my yard.
Day 4 - The Psalms scripture for this day is the third verse, which reads, "He restoreth my soul: He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake."
Fasting is a time to restore my soul. Though I do have physical reasons for doing this fast, the spiritual and "soul" reasons were motivators also. I needed this deep restful retreat, which does involve a lot of soul searching.
God leads us in the paths of righteousness but doesn't force us. We are a part of Him, and He is a part of us. He truly loves us, even more than we can love our own children, and only wants the best for us.
His work and glory are "to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man". We are not a "side project" for God, or merely enacting a script. God granted us freedom and wants us to develop the light we have. Our bodies actually have the capacity to hold light.
|Day 4 - Physical
I had a great sleep today during the day, almost three hours. I also read some of the book, "Fasting Can Save Your Life", by Herbert Shelton.
Here's one paragraph from the book on hunger.
"Hunger is intermittent and manifests when there is a need for food. It is never continuous. Individuals who are 'always hungry' are really displaying pathological symptoms. Am I implying that most people do not really know when they are hungry? I am indeed. Beginning almost with birth and the three-times-a-day stuffing program that is common to our so called modern civilization, average individuals in average communities never experience genuine hunger."
After going for four days now without one bit of food, I have to say that I'm not hungry yet. Nor do I expect to become truly hungry during the ten days. Now, I do have the desire for food, out of habit and appetite for the pleasures of eating.
In fact, I'm keeping track each day of the number of times I think about food. I'll let you know at the end. Go here for a great resource on controlling and breaking bad habits and developing good ones.
As far as elimination goes, I had two normal bowel movements on the first day of the fast. The evening before the fast I had a nice meal of salad and avocados. No other bowel movements until this fourth day. In the morning I passed some of what could be gallstones (about 5). At least they looked like the gallstones I passed when on a gallbladder cleanse recently.
I went outside in the afternoon and did my five laps up and down the hill, and even pulled a few weeds.
Day 5 - About halfway through the ten days (but who's counting - Ha ha). The next verse in Psalms for my meditation today is, "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me."
I've always thought it interesting about the shadow of death, rather than just the valley of death, but now I see it this way. A shadow is just an illusion that looks real. There is no death, and nothing to fear about death. We just pass from one sphere to the next. All our fears are shadows. We think they are real (and really scary), but God is with us.
People certainly fear fasting, and I did! A month ago I wouldn't even think about fasting ten days. I have fasted 36 hours before but that's the most. I've faced some fears with the Lord's help these past five days.
I'm not sure what the rod and the staff represent (I need to learn some symbolism here), but I know the comfort is real!
|Day 5 - Physical
I felt pretty good today. Last night I felt some sharp pains in my gallbladder area and thought I might pass some stones today but not yet. I read more from the fasting book. This book explains the low energy during the fast in this way.
"The feeling of weakness, sometimes experienced during a fast is due, in the main to functional inactivity. There is a general functional let-down as the organism takes full advantage of the proffered opportunity to rest. The heart slows, circulation slows, there is a slowing of respiration.
The glands of the body reduce their activities. In general, the tired body heaves a sigh of relief and goes to bed. This is just what is needed and proof that it is beneficial is seen by the fact that vigor returns as the body rests and is cleansed, long before food is taken. Indeed weakness during the first few days of the fast may be nothing more significant than an absence of the accustomed stimulation."
I get up slowly, and feel weak, which means my body wants to rest. After my five laps today up and down the hill (about 1/2 mile total), I laid out some soaker hoses and puttered around the garden a bit.
Other books I'm reading in are Chronic Candidiasis (my digestive symptoms point to serious Candida), and The Divine Center, a book about centering your life in Christ. I've also been reading the scriptures, and some in Beginning Expression Web (a web design book).
Day 6 - Today was an interesting day. The verse in Psalms is, "He preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies."
I'm not sure what the last part of the above scripture means. Does it mean that our enemies see us being blessed? The natural laws of abundance and righteousness work, and those who obey the laws are blessed. Those who don't obey the laws can see the blessings that others are receiving. I don't like to think in terms of enemies.
Emotionally this afternoon was a bit difficult. I kind of lost focus for a bit and my thoughts weren't the best. I felt a bit sorry for myself and missed participating in life's activities during these ten days. I love being with my family, working outside, eating, writing, and many other things.
These ten days I'm doing less of those things, and much more rest, which I know my body needs. It's a test of patience and longsuffering. I cried for a bit and talked to my wife and had her hold me for a while. She's such a great support!
|Day 6 - Physical
Last night I felt so good I worked several hours on the computer (probably too much). I hadn't intended to, I was just on a roll.
Just before bed, I had another bowel movement and passed another 3/4 inch stone. My appendix area feels a lot better. My appendix has hurt for many years. I've been to several doctors, and they do a white blood cell count and say nothing's wrong. Well, it hurts! But it's getting better now.
Overall I've not been impressed with the doctors. Most are nice and friendly, but they rely overmuch on their superficial checklist of symptoms. Traditional doctors do not look at the body as a whole, as an integrated system.
Luckily, I'm not limited to the traditional doctors, and have made more progress with naturopathic healers, prayer, and intense study and research.
During a fast, your metabolism slows way down and you get cold much easier. I moved the little heater from my office (which I rarely use there) into my bedroom, and often get my feet and hands toasty warm before climbing under the covers. I also have an extra blanket on the bed.
Sometimes I even heat up my drinking water to about body temperature or a little higher so that I don't get chilled when drinking a quart.
Day 7 - Well, a fast of this type certainly helps one understand the meaning of patience. You learn about patience deep in your bones. If Jesus could go 40 days without food (and many other people have also), then I can go 10.
The rest of the Psalms scripture that I started yesterday is, "Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over."
I've actually been using some olive oil, not to eat, but rubbing a little into my skin by the appendix area. I think it may soak in and help cleanse out whatever junk may be accumulated in there.
"My cup runneth over" is such a positive and grateful way of looking at life! Our cups are so full of blessings, but how often are we ungrateful, just wanting more? We do have to have our cups open and ready to receive. If our cup is turned upside down, the Lord cannot fill it with blessings.
In my book on Manifesting with Holographic Creation I write that we should always start from a position of Thankfulness for what we have, and not from a sense of lack or craving.
|Day 7 - Physical
I started this fast at 140 pounds (and I worked up to that, so don't laugh). I wasn't going to weigh myself until the end, but I did. I'm not going to put how much I've lost, but it was more than I thought it would be. I will put the ending weight on the last day.
Nothing of note today, just more rest. In the afternoon I did four laps up and down the hill and puttered around the yard for just a little bit, pulling a few weeds and planning some landscaping.
I read a little more in the fasting book today. It says that one benefit from fasting at a fasting center or retreat is that you have the companionship of other fasters, and can visit with them and share. My family has been tremendously supportive, but I can see this would be a benefit.
Another advantage of the fasting center (Yes, they exist), is that you get a complete break from outside duties, yard projects, phone calls, interruptions, etc. I still opt for the comforts of my own home. I set these ten days aside and have done pretty well letting the world go on.
In my abdomen, to the right of my navel, I feel some kind of mass. Now that my intestines are empty, it's even more noticeable. I've felt it for years, and it kind of moves around a bit. I don't know what it is?
I also experimented with Web Graphics. Just put your mouse over the image below and see what happens. Don't click, just hold your mouse over it.
Day 8 - The last verse in Psalms 23 starts, "Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life."
This statement in Psalms shows expectation and intent of good things to come, and is one of the first affirmations. I've developed my own definition of Hope. Here it is:
Hope is a full expectation of desirable things to come!
On the other hand, here is the definition of despair.
Despair is a full expectation of undesirable things to come. So you can see that if you have no hope, you are in despair. Goodness and mercy not only come unto us, but actually follow us.
|Day 8 - Physical
Don't judge fasting unless you've read at least one book on it. Another book that I read to prepare for this fast is Fasting and Eating for Health, by Joel Fuhrman, M.D.
I reread some of his book today, and here is a good quote on the physical ability of the body to fast.
"The time required for a fast to reach completion varies from individual to individual. The trained physician can easily denote symptoms that indicate he ending of the fasting period and the beginning of starvation.
In the vast majority of fasts, the physician will end the fast many weeks before the nutrient reserves of the body have been exhausted. The average individual (not overweight) would have to fast approximately 40 days or more to exhaust nutrient reserves."
Both Joel Fuhrman and Herbert Shelton have each supervised hundreds of fasts of weeks long duration.
Today I didn't even do my hour work session on the computer in the morning. I just did my stretching and showering and then went back to bed. It feels like the body is doing some deep cleansing.
During the night and the morning I had a moderate but persistent headache that lasted about 14 hours. I never get headaches. I think my body is doing some restructuring and rewiring for increased efficiency!
Day 9 - The ending of Psalms 23 is "and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever." In the Lord's house are many mansions and kingdoms, and this earth is a kingdom also.
I believe that the purpose of life is joy. In this kingdom and experience our joy may not be full because we are experimenting with growth, testing, and separation. However, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ we can be made At One with All.
I've never prayed as much as I have during this fasting period. Feelings of vulnerability, openness, and fear have come and visited in this retreat period. Part of my reason for this fast is spiritual, to be "still" and not distract myself with busyness. It's been an adventure.
|Day 9 - Physical
Last night I had another headache into the night and didn't go to sleep for hours. Today I had three bowel movements, showing that the body will move the bowels during a fast.
I felt quite weak today, yet did lots of reading because I was tired of just laying in bed. I did my four laps up and down the hill. The sun was very hot and I didn't want to get overheated.
I had more episodes of thinking of food today, probably because of the close of the fast being imminent.
Say 10 - Well, one can survive ten days without food. The last couple of days were the more difficult for me. Stripped of daily busyness and ego, I feel a renewed love of God, my lovely wife, each of my five boys, and extended family.
I sat and lay (in my mind) by a campfire for many hours and pondered the basics of nature, simplicity, and service. Material possessions are so intangible and are only means to an end. We are to experiment with creating in the material realm while here, but not become attached to it. Where our treasure is, there is our heart also.
|Day 10 - Physical
I had another headache last night, and continued cleansing this morning with four bowel movements. My weight was 140 lbs to start the fast ten days ago, and I ended at 124 pounds.
Some days will be required to build up weight and strength but I'm prepared for that. Will I do it again? Maybe. I know that my cells, organs, and tissues are cleansed and rejuvenated. I'm excited to see the practical difference this makes in my daily energy level, work, family time, and mountain running!
Many advocate juice fasting and I have done those also. There are benefits and drawbacks to each (juice fasting versus water fasting). On a juice fast you can continue to function and work (at least I have), but this water fast "put me down". However, that was part of my purpose, to give my entire body and soul a deep and profound rest.
Copyright Christopher Westra | Ten Day Fast