Today was day sixteen.
Sixteen days without food. Sixteen days.
Physically, how am I doing? I feel all right. Really, I feel fine. Stomach feels empty but isn’t panging like it did on day three while the crew cooked dinner. A sip of water here, some coconut water there, I feel all right. But, without any distractions from my own mind… ooh… I’m craving a cigarette today. It comes in waves of need that fall back into the ocean of my desire and then come in again and again for minutes at a time. Even these craving are all right. I remember them from last time I quit. (Hey! I brought licorice root to chew. I’m grabbin’ some. Be right back.) Without mirrors or accurate scales I can’t really judge how my body is changing but its been sixteen days without food, and – according to the fasting literature, I’m almost certain to have given up between ten and fifteen pounds from my entry weight of somewhere around one hundred and forty five. I know that the size 32 jeans I got in New York this winter are now at least two sizes too big.
I’m not worried. Weight loss rates decrease quickly during fasts and I took all the steps to do this as safely as possible. By next week I should only be losing between four and eight ounces a day. And the week after I’ll be expecting that to drop to between four and eight. From then on… four to eight onces a day. I’ve done the maths. If all goes well… Well….
There’s literature out there – real case studies done by western medicine in the forties and fifties – that suggests that after thirty days of fasting, people on pure water water fasts lose only several ounces of weight of day. I can barely imagine it: don’t eat for six days and only lose one pound.
In the meantime, coconut water is a diuretic (explaining my having to urinate all of the time) and is great for my kidneys, but I have to stay up on my regular water consumption.
Why am I doing this? It’s not for my health. Is it to find and cement a relationship with God? Well, that’s what my schedule is all about, the prayer and meditation but, who knows? If we’re all just a part of Creation creating, then what I think I’m doing might be altogether misleading.
I have a lot of time to ask myself that question. For now, I can sit back, watch the citronella candle burn, relax, and get ready for my eight o’clock meditation.
Meditating. That’s hard. I started out easy with just two hours a day – three or four sittings, but now I can hold posture for an hour, easy. It’s the concentrating on the spot between my eyebrows for more than a few seconds that’s tough; my eyeballs move in their orbits of their own volition and I think my left eye is weaker than my right because my right eye can remain aimed at the spot that’s said to be the center of Christ-consciousness while the left seems to fatigue and drift away, lazily going cross-eyed toward the bridge of my nose. My guidebook for this adventure is the yogi Paramhansa Yogananda’s system of self-realization and he insists that the more I concentrate my will, the faster results will come. So I set and reset (and reset) my eyes, gently reminding myself to give my attention to my third eye, and when they drift away, set them back, again.
An effect of this inner-gazing is sometimes felt as a swirling eddy of energy just above my eyebrows and, other times, like an itching or burning sensation. When I feel either, I try and enter that sensation… But I hardly know what that means, to enter into the sensation.
Afterwards, however, there’s a calm like I’ve never experienced, a calm that takes one by surprise, like standing in a gale and having the wind utterly cease. In that serenity exists a beatific acceptance of things as they are.
I’m being careful, here, to avoid the topics of what I’m thinking about and what I’m writing about in my journal and my reasons, for good or bad, are because I’m involving myself in esoteric thought I’m neither yet comfortable elucidating nor confident explaining. I’ve become a disciple of sorts, a student travelling with masters centuries gone to ground, and I have a ways to go yet before the topography of this journey can be charted or analyzed, so I merely take the steps, confident, faithful, assured, that one way or another, I’ll get where I’m going.
With prayer, meditation, and as much will as I can muster, I’m determined to meet my inner mystic.
Faith tells me that he’s around here, somewhere.
Oh, yes… Tomorrow is laundry day.