Posted by: Upāsaka | 07/25/2018

Fasting for the Wrong Reasons

So I have taken a more serious interest in fasting after my father-in-law’s heart attack so there is clearly a health component in my decision. I figure that the body, a healthy body, is part and parcel of the preciousness of this human life. As such, it only makes sense to try to make it last as long as possible in order to practice as much as I can (I have yet to hit my three hour a day formal meditation goal but just the striving has proven beneficial). It turns out that intermittent fasting is great for your immune system, heart health and blood pressure as well as helping you to shed fat but here’s the rub: as I get into a routine of fasting for 20 hours a day and adding a select few core exercises I see that I’m beginning to develop pride.

Yes, you heard that right, I’m beginning to see this stinking, steaming pile of flesh and grease as a basis for praising myself and criticizing others. I was so shocked by this that I spent last night’s walking practice reciting maranam to remind myself that this body must sicken and die.

So, it’s a fine line between supporting healthy habits and becoming intoxicated by the allure of this body and, naturally, sex. I really don’t like half measures so I’m not inclined to just let these kilesas run rampant and unchallenged. Instead, while fasting or exercising may I constantly reflect on the fragility, transience and repulsive nature of this flesh bag.

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