This is my big news. Five hours in a single stretch: literally the first time for more than two weeks. I know the natural assumption is that it must feel like a relief, but, honestly, it’s not that simple. Of course, there’s always the relief of slipping back into a familiar old habit – and for me, five hours in one stretch is the norm, since I normally rise to meditate after this. But it’s also much more complicated. Once my biorhythm had accepted and acclimatised to the fasting routine of sleeping two hours and then rising, there was a certain beauty in sitting to meditate in the dead of night instead of the pre-dawn hours, there was a certain peace in sitting afterwards to write, with the silence of the night allowing my mind to express itself in an effortless, uninterrupted flow. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 22 (follow up)
Today is the last full day of fasting. By the evening I’ll already be into Day 21. The feeling, which came to me as I woke up this morning, is that of when you’re about to say goodbye to an old friend whom you know you’re not going to see for a while. There’s an element of regret in parting from each other, but you know that your friendship is stronger than the time and distance you’ll be spending apart. And besides, you know you’ll meet again… Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 20
Today I went into town to buy fruit for the end of my fast. The thought of going to the shops had a certain exotic excitement to it – in contrast to my usual apathy towards shopping. And yet, mixed into the feeling was also one of slight sadness that the fast is going to end soon.
Driving the 10km from the village into town, I realised that I’m really not quite with it… Doing the driving felt very different from last week, when I had to go back home for a few days. Then, it felt no different from usual. But now… Now, it felt like my consciousness was occupying a whole field surrounding my body, rather than simply being in my body – or, more precisely, being my body. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 17
Last night I realised that I’m at the three-quarters point of the fast. But numbers mean nothing. They cut up the truth of unadulterated reality. The truth is, I often can’t even remember which day of the fast I’m on, let alone what day of the week it is.
I’ve had this dull ache in my left quad the whole day. At first, I couldn’t understand it. The feeling was and continues to be similar to what can happen during detox, or in the first couple days of a fast while the body is switching over to ketosis (and drawing from muscle tissue in the meantime). Obviously I’m firmly in ketosis now, but could it be detox? But if so, why is my right leg fine? Surely both should be aching if this were the case. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 16
Physically, no changes to speak of. I slept more last night – a good five or six hours. Maybe in the end I really have been sleeping too little. One more thought on that. The nights when I caught no more than literally two or three hours tended to follow the days I was working long hours on the computer. It’s true that my mind has been flying with complete and effortless focus, but I wonder whether it’s also started to wind up my energy levels more than otherwise. Compared to our everyday carbohydrate-based metabolism, I’ve always found ketosis to be slower reacting to the body’s changing energy requirements: slower to fire up in the morning and slower to fire down at night. Perhaps it’s possible that the higher daily energy levels demanded by my work were also continuing afterwards, into and even through the night. Anyway, I’m glad there’s no longer a need for any more craziness. Things are calming down again, so that the remaining days will increasingly stretch out without any demands for work, deadlines and the like. Lots of time to be. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 15
I’ve not written in the last couple of days because there really hasn’t been any significant change to talk about. Subtle shifts, yes, but it’s taken a couple of days to establish whether these are real or just my imagination.
Maybe first and foremost has been a gradually rise in mental energy – as opposed to physical energy which, although slightly stronger, still falls into the “hitting the wall” category of debilitating weakness. Over the last few days I’ve had to take care of some work on the computer. My concentration and focus has been totally 100%, and in terms of stamina has been well above my everyday standard. I put in a couple of eight-hour days without any breaks and without any fatigue. The funny thing is that I’ve managed this on increasingly less and less sleep. I just don’t get tired. Continue reading 21 day water fast: days 12, 13, 14
Last night woke after four hours sleep and couldn’t go back to sleep. After lying in bed for a while I meditated, which for the first time since beginning the fast, actually felt natural and good, not a chore. I don’t know whether my resistance to meditation and yoga during the first week of fasting has been because it feels contrived, given that my general state of consciousness during the day (as well as during the sleepless hours during the night) is one of a natural vipasanna anyway, or whether the problem is that meditating feels too much like doing something.
Overall, I’ve been averaging around five hours of sleep a night since Day Six, which is certainly well less than my usual amount. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 8
So here we are, another milestone in the fast: the end of the first week and, with it, the first third of my planned duration. I feel good, just physically slow in ev-er-y-thing. But this new tempo – precisely because of its more leisurely, deliberate speed, as well as because it’s different to what I’m used to – also evokes an increased consciousness in everything I do.
This morning I’ve noticed a lot of muscles making their presence felt. My shoulders and thighs are very subtly sore – low and behold, completely matching the muscles used to carry the fridge yesterday! Normally, I wouldn’t have felt anything today, but again this proves the point that while fasting it’s extremely important not to overstress your body physically. You can do lasting damage to it, as Gandhi demonstrated. Quite bluntly, muscle damage was done yesterday (no matter how minimally), whereas normally such exertion would have been well within my normal capacity. Continue reading 21 day water fast: day 7