Fast lips

{josquote}So, if the rule was to allow nothing to pass your lips, what if you're sick and have to throw up? Does it count in that direction? (I know. As long as you don't eat it again afterwards, right?){/josquote}

"Can I brush my teeth during the fast?"


I don't remember what I said, but I think the question mark sort of covers it.

"You know, nothing is supposed to pass your lips."


I was still fairly clueless.

"It's the fast. Nothing shall pass your lips?"

I suddenly visualized Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, "You shall not pass!"

"Where", I wondered aloud, "did you get that from?"

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Laurie Lee on Appetite

Laurie Lee (1914-1997)

We’re four days into the Bahá’í Fast and its full impact is beginning to bite. (Sorry — just couldn’t resist it.) A good friend of mine in Leominster put me onto a piece written by Laurie Lee on appetite which contains some interesting thoughts about part of the power of fasting, at least for us in the affluent world.

You can find the full piece on this link. It behoves us to remember as well though that there are millions in the world at the moment who are not fasting but starving. For them these words will make little sense at all. Only compassionate and effective action constitute an appropriate response. None the less Laurie Lee’s words are a timely reminder to us that affluence has a price and also that such good fortune is not ours by right.

{josquote}One of the major pleasures in life is appetite, and one of our major duties should be to protect it.{/josquote}

Fasting is an act of homage to the majesty of appetite. So I think we should arrange to give up our pleasures regularly—our food, our friends, our lovers—in order to preserve their intensity, and the moment of coming back to them. For this is the moment that renews and refreshes both oneself and the thing one loves. Sailors and travelers enjoyed this once, and so did hunters, I suppose. Part of the weariness of modern life may be that we live too much on top of each other, and are entertained and fed too regularly. Once we were separated by hunger both from our food and families, and then we learned to value both. The men went off hunting, and the dogs went with them; the women and children waved goodbye. The cave was empty of men for days on end; nobody ate, or knew what to do. The women crouched by the fire, the wet smoke in their eyes; the children wailed; everybody was hungry. Then one night there were shouts and the barking of dogs from the hills, and the men came back loaded with meat. This was the great reunion, and everybody gorged themselves silly, and appetite came into its own; the long-awaited meal became a feast to remember and an almost sacred celebration of life. Now we go off to the office and come home in the evenings to cheap chicken and frozen peas. Very nice, but too much of it, too easy and regular, served up without effort or wanting. We eat, we are lucky, our faces are shining with fat, but we don’t know the pleasure of being hungry any more.

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Fast Bloggin'

{josquote}My goal is to do one simple post a day describing my reflections and experiences during this special time{/josquote}

I'm about to enjoy some red grapes as I contemplate how fast the Baha'i Fast is approaching. It kind of sneaked up on me. 2010 is going to be a year of experiments on Baha'i Thought and I'd like to try one for the Fast. My goal is to do one simple post a day describing my reflections and experiences during this special time. I want to encourage Baha'i Thought readers who are also fasting to share their thoughts and stories in the comment section each day if they wish. I wanted to kick things off with inviting readers to share anything they do to prepare for the Fast or if there are particular things you like to do during this time. Do you have a particular prayer you love, or something you like to eat for breakfast? Is there a particular way you like to break the Fast? What's the strangest thing you ever broke your Fast with (mine would be Pringles!). The comment section is wide open. Bring it on people.

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Religious fasts can affect eye treatment

Glaucoma patients, who must apply eye drops, risk damaging their eyes if they stop treatment during religious fasting, a British researcher said.

Nishant Kumar of the University Hospital in Liverpool, England, said glaucoma patients often notice no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, which poses challenges for physicians in motivating patients to stick to treatment regimens. If patients neglect treatment until their vision noticeably declines, the damage is often irreversible.

Kumar studied patient compliance in relation to fasting by analyzing 350 surveys completed by members of the worlds' major faiths: Islam, Hinduism, Jainism, Christianity, Judaism, Bahai and Buddhism -- 50 surveys per religion.

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Also: Could Religious Beliefs Affect Compliance With Ocular Treatment?

Happy Fasting!

So the Baha’i Fast starts soon. I’ve been thinking a lot about it. For those of you who are new to the Baha’i Faith, we have period of Fasting every year that lasts 19 days in March. We don’t eat from sunrise to sunset. It is a time for reflection and spiritual renewal.

I always have two reactions to the Fast. The first is from my lower nature reaction. This is the part of me that dreads the Fast as it draws closer like a burdensome duty or chore I wish I could hide from. This is the side of me that thinks of the Fast and the aching feeling in my stomach that longingly pulls me towards the nearest food or drink in whatever building I’m in. This is the side of me that thinks of the tired afternoons where I have to keep working but all I want to do is take a long nap. It is the side of me that remembers the awful feeling of the early mornings where my body moves about preparing the breakfast but every other part of me is still back in my warm bed fast asleep.

{josquote}I hope it is a time of reconnection and renewal of your spirit.{/josquote}

Then there is the spiritual side of me the looks forward to the Fast every year. This is the side of me that remembers the feeling of privilege that comes from fasting when the whole world eats and drinks around us. This is the side that feels the warmth of the hunger as a gentle reminder that I am a follower (and a spiritual lover) of Baha’u’llah. This is the side of me that feels the cleansing shower of sacrifice pouring down over my soul and washing away the attachments, distractions, and unwanted desires and replacing it all with a reverberating sense of calmness and serenity that clears the mind and opens the heart to what really matters in life.

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