[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.]
Nathan was fresh out of another meditation retreat. He said, “Wow. Have you ever fasted? Fasting and meditation really do go great together.”
I think it was the same day that he sent me the link about the American who fasted on beer for 46 days in 2011.
It was those two little bits that set me on this path (along with Charles being so dare-able and myself so competitive). I’m so glad to be doing this ridiculous thing! Day One was not a really big deal. Here I am, half way through Day 2. Feeling hungry, for sure, but also entertained by that hunger somehow. More than anything I’m amazed by how great it is to meditate while empty (and buzzed). Let me share the schedule I plan to keep for the duration of the fast:
7:30am – Dance of the Seven Directions
8am to 9am – Meditate
9am to 11am – Creative practice
11am to 7pm – Art Monastery work & blogging
I go to bed when I’m tired, but set my alarm for midnight…
12 midnight to 1am – Meditate
I haven’t really experience meditating in the middle of the night before. I’m doing it in honor of Vigils, the monastic practice of holding a service in the middle of the night that deals with the concept of the void, darkness, and emptiness. This is our Monastic Cycle for the year and for my fast. Lately, when I sit I activate Big Sky Mind: I imagine myself floating in a bright blue sunny sky and thoughts that come and go are like clouds in the sky. Last night, I sat in the void. Floating in darkness, allowing it to be unknown. The emptiness of my stomach really supported this, and the darkness and quietness of the world. My body seemed to expand and gradually dissolve into the darkness. When I finished, I was buzzing with energy and life. I wanted to absorb more darkness. I stepped outside onto my terrace overlooking the valley. The moon was enormous. I took this picture.
This drawing (still in process) is the result of this morning’s creative practice.
5/7 ~ Day 1’s consumption (Charles is meticulously tracking his consumption. Mine is more or less the same.)