If you observe the natural cycle of the body, there is something called a mandala. Every forty to forty-eight days, the system goes through a certain cycle. In every cycle of this, every single cycle, in this three days will appear where your body does not need food. If you are conscious of how your body functions, you will become aware that today my body does not need food. And without any effort you can go without food on that day, if you observe this cycle properly.
Every forty to forty-eight days – three days will appear where your body does not need food
If that awareness is not there as to which day that is, for that in India they fixed what is called as Ekadasi. That means four days before the full moon, four days before the new moon day, people don’t eat. They wake up in the morning – no breakfast, no lunch, only after the sun sets, they eat one meal. This is just to allow the system to realign itself. If you give this break, it’s very, very good for your health and your body the way it functions, because the system needs that time to adjust itself. Every day food, every day food, it’s lot of hard work for the body. Give it a little break.
If you are not able to fast, on one day you go on something lighter, maybe just juices or something else, which is much lighter for the system to handle. Definitely, body will be very grateful to you. Yes! Every day, loading it up with cooked food is not a good thing to do.
So, what is its spiritual significance? Because it’s a cleansing. If your system is not vibrant, you won’t feel like doing anything spiritual, you’re feeling lethargic. For a meditator, the biggest enemy is sleep. To sit here with eyes closed and fully alert, takes something else. For most people, if they close their eyes, it’s sleep. So, to sit here and to be very alert with eyes closed, takes a certain level of vibrance in the body. So, to create this vibrance, we observe how to eat, what to do, how much to eat, all these things. It is not spiritual but it is providing the right kind of body.
Right now, if your body is feeling very lethargic, I am talking enlightenment, “So what the hell.” Isn’t it? So keeping it vibrant, alert and keeping the body free of pains and problems is important because only then you will seek something bigger. Right now, your leg is hurting, really hurting, God appeared, what will you ask? “My leg pain should go.” Yes or no? What more will you ask, that’s all you will ask, isn’t it? Because body has that kind of power over you. Unless you keep it in a certain level of ease, it rules you from every direction. Isn’t it so? For this, keeping your body very pure and healthy is important otherwise body becomes the dominant force in your life. It will not allow you to think beyond.
Right now, if something starts really paining in your body, just your little finger, really starts hurting badly, you are not interested in God, enlightenment, meditation, nothing. You are interested in this one [little finger]. Isn’t it so? So this one [body] has that kind of power, so you must keep this one happy, only then it will allow you to do something else, otherwise it will not allow you. So in that context, fasting here and there, giving the body a break to recover itself, recover its vibrance, not become lethargic with food, is important.
The ideal break between one meal and the next meal is eight hours
Instead of fasting, if you just keep sufficient break between one meal and the next meal – if I say this, you will give up yoga – the ideal break between one meal and the next meal is eight hours, always. If eight hours is not possible for you, minimum five hours break is needed. You must feel a certain sense of hunger before you eat. Before you feel hungry, if you put food into the system, the system will become lethargic. It will not know vibrance.
When I say vibrance, I am not just talking about you being right now awake. We are not in the same level of vibrance right now, each one of us. We are eating the same kind of food, we are breathing the same air, we are in the same space but we are not in the same level of experience. This moment how I am within myself, I will not exchange this for anything in the world. If you give me the whole world, I will not make a deal because this is much bigger than that. And it’s possible for everybody, it’s not happened simply because the necessary attention and what needs to be done with the system has not been done. So, human vibrance can be in various levels, many different dimensions. It can carry you to completely different dimensions of experience and living.
So, keeping the body well is a fundamental requirement. You don’t have to be a great athlete or something, but just keeping it easy, that if you sit down here, you don’t have to twist and turn all the time. If you sit down here, next few hours you can simply sit here without being bothered by a bursting bladder or a craving stomach bag or this hurting, that hurting. If you sit here, you are fine, just that much ease has to come into the body.