Monday, March 13, 2006 5:23:23 PM OK, I get it. Every message associated with fasting is negative. There's either shame and remorse, or grief, or penance, or cleansing. Even cleansing asserts that there is something in the person committed to the fast that they want to get rid of. What I am getting rid of is unsupportive belief systems, and all negativity is unsupportive. So, what I am giving up now is the fast itself. Not my religion. I am powerful, an incarnation of the Living Spirit, whom the Universe loves and supports. Thank you, Universe, for revealing this to me in much, much less than six weeks. I move forward now. My mission is to help thousands of people to learn to be abundant, independent, empowered and prosperous. I must be certain, unwavering, and amazingly prosperous myself. I must become the agent that assures others that prosperity is theirs to enjoy, that opportunity is theirs to exploit and control. I now release old habits of looking outside myself for instructions of what to do and how, for supervision and approval. I let go of the idea that cash must be raised by assuming a subservient role. I recognize my own power and my own responsibility. I am learning new habits that place me in an infinitely abundant trajectory. I am learning to be the self-motivated person that enjoys these new habits. I think outside the box. I trust my intuition and I act upon it.
Thu Mar 9 02:45:55 GMT 2006 Round two: the Old Testament hardly mentions fasting. It was not mentioned in the Pentateuch. It was known in the times of Jeremiah and Isaiah, the 7th and 8th Centuries B.C. The fasts mentioned by the prophets were primarily connected with grieving, and occasionally with prayer. The book of Tobit, apparently from the same period, mentions that "Prayer is good with fasting and alms and righteousness" in a list of good works. Since this was between the fall of the Kingdom of Judah and the exile to Babylon, I suspect fasting was a borrowed custom. Jesus and his disciples practiced fasting, always in connection with prayer. In both the Old Testament and the New Testament the context of fasting indicates it was a complete and total abstinence, not the meat-free game that is played today. If it was a borrowed custom, it may have come from a priesthood that practiced it as a form of purification, like ablution, as a preparation for prayer. I am reminded of a statement once made to me when I was a child, that starvation leads to hallucination, which is often interpreted as a holy experience. Full-on fasting was popular in the 11th Century, when there was little food, and a tour of Winchester Cathedral will show the kings and knights of the day were rail-thin. When a person decides to cleanse the body today, the first thing that goes out of the diet is meat. A good cleanse involves a vegan diet, and the use of clay to clean out the digestive tract as well. Six weeks is a long time, but my current diet is not such a difficult discipline. Margaret is already entertaining a vegan diet, and I am discovering that most menus will accommodate a vegetarian. I doubt that I will hallucinate, as the vegetarian diet is perfectly adequate to meet all the needs of the human body. In the Sermon on the Mount, after Jesus explained the Lord's Prayer, he also had advice on fasting. "When you fast, do not put on a sad face as the hypocrites do. They neglect their appearance so that everyone will see that they are fasting. I assure you, they have already been paid in full. When you go without food, wash your face and comb your hair, so that others cannot know that you are fasting -- only your Father, who is unseen, will know. And your Father, who sees what you do in private, will reward you." -- Jesus Christ (Matt. 6:16-18 TEV) Oops! It looks like I have a lot to learn. Oh, funny thing. The Encyclopedia Britannica states that fasting is used "to prepare persons, especially priests and priestesses, to approach the deities." Also that fasting is used to induce hallucinations. Stay tuned! fasting. (2006). Encyclopędia Britannica. Retrieved March 8, 2006, from Encyclopędia Britannica Premium Service http://www.britannica.com/eb/article-9033803
Tuesday, March 07, 2006 2:42:48 PM On February 26, Margaret and I attended Mass at Saint Ignatius Church. We had accepted an invitation to the Presidents' Ambassadors of the School of Business and Management, and we were interested in seeing what a Catholic Mass looked like these days. We discovered that there is a very real need for our message to the world, that every person has abundance and glory inherent within, and that the possibility for growth is unlimited. This was not the message that was given to the congregation in the Catholic Mass. I wondered how the Priest could have been so limited in his role, until I read the letter from John Paul II to the Catholic Priests "On the Eucharist in its Relationship to the Church," of April 17, 2003. It turned out that for the sake of a worldwide uniform message, the role of the Priest is highly regulated. On this occasion the Priest used his free time to explain that Lent was coming up, and that there were many ways that a Lenten fast could be observed. The list of exceptions ran longer than the principle, and the message I got from the Priest was that there was some moral obligation to understand and sympathize with those who had nothing to eat. That sounded like a weak reason to fast at best, so I did a little further research. The Catholic Encyclopedia added more to my understanding of the controversies and exceptions than to the principle. The principle still appeared to be sympathy, even compassion, for the poor. On the Internet two principles other than that which the Priest gave in the Mass came up. The first was that the money saved on meat was to be distributed to the poor (Coquinaria). The other was that it was a way to remind oneself to pray (Ken Collins). All of this was interesting, but I did not feel an attachment to the traditions of the 5th to the 16th Centuries. Jesus Christ fasted for a reason, and that reason has not been clearly explained to me by anyone yet. Nevertheless, as an intellectual experiment and a spiritual exercise, I decided to fast this year. I was faced, then, with the question of what kind of fast would be meaningful for me. I was amused that meat has been the primary target historically, and that fish, or even fish and fowl, have been OK to eat during this exercise. However, there were also vegan leanings, as many had cut out eggs and milk as well. Reflecting on the differences between the Animal Kingdom and the Vegetable Kingdom, and on the various reasons given by Hindus for vegetarianism, I decided that my fast would be meaningful to me if I would become a vegetarian until Easter. This decision has actually focused my mind upon the issues of poverty versus wealth, assistance versus opportunity, compassion versus entanglement. Ralph Waldo Emerson and Charles Fillmore agree that poverty is a sin. What does this sin constitute? It constitutes forgetting that opportunity is available to all mankind, that wealth and prosperity are ours for the accepting, that it is the responsibility of each individual to recognize his or her power and to accept the Universal Wealth that is knocking on the door. Opportunity doesn't knock twice, it knocks constantly. One of my advisors recently told me that my obligation, my duty to the poor, is to make as much wealth as I can as quickly as I can. If I can do it anyone can do it, and through the demonstration of personal success I can show others that they can do it. Wealth without limits is available to everyone.