Today has been one of extremes. The morning was again spent in a frenetic whirlwind of doing: tidying up and rearranging the house to make it liveable. I finished mid-afternoon and went outside to sit. Just sit and be. In that moment, it hit me again like a wave: the conflict inside me.
Sitting with the feeling, I don’t think the root of the emotion is in feeling somehow guilty for leaving the family behind. No. That’s just a cover for the truth. No, it’s safer to feel the conflict and be distracted by it, than to be confronted with the raw truth – the raw truth of being.
Without mealtimes to help cut the day into manageable units, I find myself with myself all the time – or rather, my ego finds itself with itself, all the time and without any distractions. That melancholy I mentioned yesterday definitely is existential in origin. Weltschmerz. When I dip into it, part of me rebels against the feeling with: ‘you should be doing something’. But at the same time another part of me feels like to do anything – be it reading, listening to music or finding more work in the house – is a distraction, even a lie to my inner self. Anything I do pulls me away from my essence, my raw, empty, infinite being. While fasting, this dichotomy feels all the more real, and I find myself returning to awareness of it throughout the day. The unbridgeable distance between doing and being feels like a bottomless pit, a little like falling. Or is it actually the feeling of raw, empty infinite being itself – no longer hemmed in by the safe and familiar frames of everyday life – which makes me feel so lost? I’ve never felt like this before while fasting, but maybe that’s because I’ve always fasted in the emotional safety of home, and I’ve never been faced by such a long stretch of empty time, just to and be by myself.
I know that, rather than go deeper into the empty space, I could instead transmute the looming infinity of that space into the infinitely beautiful space of unconditional love and unity: the flip side of this coin and, of course, complete antithesis of existential isolation. So, if the two are connected like the inverted image of a mirror, why not transcend and reconnect with such an attractive truth? After all, I’ve already directly experienced it through meditation. I know it to be true. I know this body, this ego which is living my life, is just a drop in the ocean. I know that, like all the innumerable drops in the ocean, we are connected to everyone and everything, and that the cohering, unifying force is love. So why not access it now? Because at this point, to jump straight into the ‘feel-good’ – feels a little too much like jumping ship. It wouldn’t be honest to how I feel now.
Alternatively, if I go and do something now, my deeper self will feel guilty about cheating myself of the opportunity to experience this. Actually, there is some work I should be doing right now. But I feel a huge resistance to doing it.
God, three weeks… If by Day Two this fast is already about Being and Nothingness, then where is it going to lead in the days ahead?
While fasting at home, close to the safety of activity and distraction, it’s easy to access the flow of the moment, the melting into oneness with that moment: a oneness which always has the potential to open into literally infinite dimensions. But at home, it’s also life with a safety net, knowing that you can step back when you start to lose control over your experience – that you can blame your lack of courage to go more deeply into the flow of being on having to get back and do something. It’s so easy to fool yourself. Here, on the other hand, with more or less a total lack of responsibility, I have no excuse to step back.
Interestingly, that feeling of melancholy, of being slightly overwhelmed with existence, hits hardest the moment straight after I stop whatever I’m doing. Is this because my ego hasn’t yet had time to react to the change, smoothing things over with its safety-filter and dumbing me down again? Or is it simply because I need to time to change gears into another mode of experiencing myself, and once there, I’m actually fine?
Time will tell.
Slept lots last night. In the morning it took a while to get out of bed and feel charged up, but since then I’ve had plenty of energy all day. Very little thirst today. Drank maximum one litre. I reckon ketosis is already in full swing, generating metabolic water for me. This is also supported by the familiar ‘fasting’ taste in my mouth. No other physical symptoms, except when I lie down and relax, focussing on my body. Then I can subtly feel my calf muscles, as if they’re a little tight. Same thing sometimes around my kidneys, but again, only when I’m relaxing and looking for it. No hunger today, just a few stomach rumbles around lunch time.