THE EIGHTFOLD PATH
Part Three: FASTING
by Inanna Arthen ©1989
Vernal Equinox. I walk slowly through a stand of woods in central Massachusetts, avoiding patches of soft snow, my boots soaked with icy water. I have not eaten food or drunk anything but water for almost ten days, and I have walked for several miles so far this day, up and down hill, over brook and stone. It is cold and cloudy, and from time to time a light drizzle falls. Around me Spirit is immanent, and I am keenly aware of it. Everything I see takes my breath away with wonder, and the sound of water, dripping, trickling, bubbling, rushing, fills the air with a constant song. I stop to rest near a stand of trees and they greet me with interest; I chat casually with them, unconscious of any incongruity. Later, I discuss my life problems with a moss-covered rock. Voices call to me from the distance “Come see! Come see!” but I am reluctant to walk too far down hill. Everything around me seems eager to show me marvels, and all that I see is marvelous. Yet my body holds me firmly to the ground. Despite my increasingly slow step and the aches and twinges of my depleted muscles, my spirit soars. By the simple act of fasting for a few days, I have entered a profoundly altered state of consciousness.
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