Intermittent Fasting as a Spiritual Exercise

I am now on week 5 of my 5:2 intermittent fast, and today is my ninth fasting day. It really doesn’t feel like such a big deal anymore. It is a pity that I felt so resistance to this approach to weight control before. I might have avoided the rebound effect that has been so discouraging. For the last few years my weight has been up and down like a yo-yo. I haven’t weighed myself since last week, but it continues to fall steadily. I’ve lost about two and a half kilograms (5.5 pounds). I’ve managed to drop my weight faster than this in the past, but I’m pleased with the way things are going – slow and steady will hopefully mean longer lasting results.

My original motivation for trying 5:2 intermittent fasting is my health. I want to lose a bit of weight and reduce my risk of heart disease (it runs in my family). In the past I’ve viewed fasting as a type of spiritual practice, and this is something that I have been thinking more about in recent days. I’m convinced that 5:2 fasting is not only good for my physical and mental health, but that it also has impressive spiritual benefits as well.

Intermittent Fasting and Meditation

I have attended some meditation retreats here in Thailand, and on these occasions I’ve taken on the Buddhist practice of only eating once a day. This type of fasting is a way of life for the monks in Thailand – although in some temples the rule is simply no more food after noon, but they can eat more than once in the morning. This is not just an ascetic practice, but it also serves a more practical purpose. It means that the monks find it easier to meditate because their energies are freed up from the digestive process. I’m sure anyone who has tried to meditate on a full stomach will be able to appreciate how fasting could be an advantage.

I try to meditate on a daily basis. I’ve noticed a significant difference to these sessions when I’m fasting. I feel mentally calmer, and this means that I’m pulled deeper into the meditation. There is just a feeling of lightness in my body that makes it easier to relax. This has made me curious about what would happen if I attempted a longer fast.

Intermittent Fasting and Lucid Dreaming

I look upon astral travel/ lucid dreaming as a type of spiritual practice. I usually manage one lucid dream every two weeks – although in July I enjoyed a significant increase in their frequency. I haven’t been able to find any technique that guarantees dream lucidity every time, but there are reports of people who have had success with fasting. The problem is that they recommend a three day fast, and that is not something that I feel ready for yet. I do suspect that this technique is effective because I’ve noticed that my dream recall improves when I’m fasting – but I have not yet achieved lucidity on these days.

My Other Posts on 5:2 Intermittent Fasting

Ten weeks of 5:2 Intermittent Fasting
Second Week of 5:2 Fasting Diet
Week Three of the 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Diet
Changes to My 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Plan
5:2 Fasting Diet Update Week 6

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2 thoughts on “Intermittent Fasting as a Spiritual Exercise

  1. Very interesting post. I didn’t know monks ate only once a day, or anything about Buddhist fasting. Your post led me to do some reading on these topics, thank you.

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