Fasting for Self-Control

When you’re full of food and drink,
Satan sits where your spirit should,
an ugly metal statue in place of the Kaaba.


When you fast, good habits gather
like friends who want to help.
Fasting is Solomon’s ring.

A table descends to your tents, Jesus’ table.
Expect to see it, when you fast,
this tablespread with other food,
better than the broth of cabbages.

Rumi

There is some uncanny connection between how much you eat, how much you talk, and how much money you spend. There is a proportional relationship between how fast you do one of these things and how fast you do the other.

Jesus went into the desert to prepare for the self-control of carrying a cross up a hill even though, in one sense, he did not need to.

In America, self-control is not much prized. Our goal is not to conform ourselves to the Moral Law by Self-Control, but to conform the cosmos to our will, through technology. This way leads not to mastery, but slavery.

The Older Path is our salvation. Forgo not just fast food but meat, and dairy. See if you don’t discover, like I did, that of all my problems, of all my enemies, I am the worst. And that, when I am conquered by my better self, all other battles become a matter of time.

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  • Deb

    See if you don’t discover, like I did, that of all my problems, of all my enemies, I am the worst. And that, when I am conquered by my better self, all other battles become a matter of time.

    Its so true. I was recently trying to explain fasting to a friend. I told her that fasting acted like a spotlight to reveal things about myself I didn’t know where there. Fasting is not the end, it is a means to an end.

  • http://mereorthodoxy.com Keith Buhler (Enthusiasmos)

    Definitely a means to an end. And O what an end! Self-knowledge and its consequence, self-control, are more valuable than millions of dollars. For what use would be a million dollars if one were so immoderate and wind-blown as to waste it on useless things?

    The exhortations to fast come from a) religious authorities, b) doctors. Objections against fasting from laymen and patients usually emerge from a) a desire not to suffer pain, even if it’s good for me, or b) some idealogical objection to “self-induced starvation” as Jack Kerouac called it. But the claim that fasting is masochistic has no response, that I am aware of, to the response, “Fasting is not done for the sake of the pain, or even for the sake of the fasting; but for the sake of the self-knowledge and self-control that results.”