[Fasts have long been a part of contemplative tradition. Monastics abstain from food to achieve greater clarity, embodiment, and spiritual vision. They change your physical reality, which in turn affects your emotional and spiritual realities. Indeed, the whole reason we do them is to bring about personal transformation. This series of blog posts—”Beer Fast”—documents the experiences of a pair of Artmonks as they undergo one western monastic fasting practice: consuming nothing but beer and water. With that in mind, these entries are raw, containing a higher-than-usual dose of intimate reflections.]
Again last night, I dreamt I broke the fast. Not so many specific details made it back with me past the consciousness checkpoint, but the gist is there. I might be ready for food. Disappointingly (but understandably) I’ve learned that the stepping out process should actually be longer than the stepping down was — that I should have just juices for the first day or two, and just fruit + juices + miso soup for the next few days, then introducing raw vegetables. Definitely no fats for at least 7 days. Luckily the big thing I’ve been craving is applesauce. Aunt Sara’s homemade chunky applesauce with cinnamon. Huh. Of all the things to crave.
This morning after sitting, I enjoyed a really 100% perfect hot bath, while watching the iTunesU free download of Shelly Kagan’s Philosophy of Death class from Yale. The name of that lecture was “Arguments for the existence of a soul.”
Then getting dressed and listening to the other folks in the house begin to stir a point came to me with total clarity. Everybody’s got their shit. Everyone. It’s easier to see in some people than other’s. The question is never, does that person have it 100% figured out. Nobody does. The question is more, does that person know what their shit is? And even worse: Do I know what my shit is? Even if I think I know, am I right? Would my friends tell me? Would my family? Would my therapist? If any and all of those people deliver that information all the time, can I hear it?