FREEDOM FRIDAY: Why should you fast your mind?
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Can Pac-Man hold the key to your health and longevity?
Well, sort of…
You see, your body has the natural power to engage in something called autophagy. The word autophagy has Greek roots that actually mean, “self-eating.”
One way to trigger autophagy is through a nutritional fast, which is a stressor that signals to your cells to get rid of the old, inefficient cells to create newer, healthier ones.
So, through fasting, you can turn your body into Pac-Man — naturally eating up and clearing out old or excess cells in your body. This is a healthy process of emptying, and has been credited with preventing diseases that result from cellular disease.
Can fasting the mind have a similar effect as fasting the body?
Last week on the Freedom Media Network, I had the pleasure of interviewing Jason Gregory, author of the book, Fasting the Mind: Spiritual Exercises for Psychic Detox.
In the opening paragraph of the book, Jason lays out this less-than-subtle dig at our current state of chaos consciousness:
“The epidemic of our times is not a war on terror or a war among nations and religions, nor is it any conflict between opposites that we can conceive of. It is a war so subtle that we are not even conscious of the battle being waged. It is a psychological war: a war against our mind, a war on consciousness. But this war is not being waged upon us from the outside world—at least not entirely so. The deep-down truth is that you have waged war upon yourself.”
As the title of his book suggests, Jason proposes the best way to end this war upon ourselves is by turning ourselves into “Pac-Man” characters — clearing and cleaning out the “dead cells” of consciousness in our mind by fasting our minds.
"While You Have a Mind"
The practice of “mind fasting” was written about by the Taoist sage Chuang-Tzu around 2500 years ago. Next to Lao-Tzu, Chuang-Tzu is the most well known of the Taoist sages, and often wrote with a humorous tone.
In one of his stories, he wrote that a young man, Yan Hui, went to see his master, Confucius, for permission to travel to the Wei province to engage in the political process because, as he tells Confucius:
“I have heard that the ruler of Wei is very young. He acts in an independent manner, thinks little of how he rules his state, and fails to see his faults. It is nothing to him to lead his people into peril, and his dead are reckoned by swampfuls like so much grass.”
Yan Hui thinks he can help “restore his state to health.”
After a series of questions from Confucius to which Yan Hui responds, revealing his various “strategies” for “restoring” Wei to health, Confucius provides his advice to Yan Hui…
“You must fast! I will tell you what that means. Do you think it is easy to do anything while you have a mind?”
Yan Hui is confused…
“Yan Hui said, “My family is poor. I haven’t drunk wine or eaten any strong foods for several months. So can I be considered as having fasted?”
“That is the fasting one does before a sacrifice, not the fasting of the mind.”
And goes on to explain what this means…
“Make your will one! Don’t listen with your ears, listen with your mind. No, don’t listen with your mind, but listen with your spirit. Listening stops with the ears, the mind stops with recognition, but spirit is empty and waits on all things. The Way gathers in emptiness alone. Emptiness is the fasting of the mind.”
The moral of the story is this: Yan Hui's mind is clogged with all sorts of strategies for dealing with the ruler of Wei, all of which Confucius says will get Yan Hui executed or jailed. Instead, he urges him to let go of the thoughts and the plans and the strategies and empty the mind. Listen. Go with the flow.
The Challenge to Letting Go
Letting go of one's thoughts is easier said than done.
Most people's thoughts control them and drive them. It becomes an addicted cycle of thoughts-action-thoughts-action-thoughts-action. And if the thoughts are disempowering, then they result in actions that get you disempowering results.
And the cycle continues.
But if you're able to slow down and fast your mind, you're able to "Pac-Man" the unhealthy thoughts. Chew them up. Dissolve them.
When that happens, you're in a better spot to see clearly the source of your disempowering thoughts: Your limiting beliefs. Now you're in a position to deal with them without the noise and clutter of your chaotic thoughts.
In our Mindful Month Decelerator program, we help our clients build this silence into their days; to cultivate habits to fast their mind on a regular basis to operate from a place of freshness and creativity instead of a place of chaos and noise.
In our podcast interview, Jason explained why this can be tough at first — but why your performance (work, relationships, help) will get better as a result:
"When you go to sit quietly in the morning, it's like, for example, when you turn a ceiling fan off. When you first turn the sealing fan off, there's still a bit of juice in there. So, you're sitting in the morning and the juice of the the day before is still overflowing in your mind. And so that's where the agitation comes. You're thinking, first of all, this is stupid. Like I'm sitting in quiet in the dark, shouldn't I be doing something, which is what most people think, but they don't understand how much that contributes to how well they perform throughout the day."
Fasting the Mind and Performance
There are many benefits — physical, mental, spiritual — to fasting the mind through meditation and mindfulness, and one of my clients recently experienced several of these.
As an incoming participant in our June Mindful Month Program, much of his stress and anxiety resulted from his company's sales quota. You see, he had been a sales rockstar at his previous company, selling a similar product but without a quota.
Once he changed companies, the focus on the quota seemed to block his selling power, which then spilled over into a variety of issues in his health and relationships.
Then he started fasting his mind through our Mindful Month Decelerator...
By the end of the month, he had become the top salesman in his region, and he blew away his June sales quota by mid-month.
“I have had a more focused approach but not caring as much about results just letting them happen, and they have. It's really been amazing how it just changed my thoughts and energy. This is the highest month of production I have ever had since working here so far.”
The results came by letting go; by fasting his mind of the thoughts and obsession over and grasping at the quota.
This is the Wu-Wei — the effortless action — we've been writing about since the launch of this newsletter. Fasting the mind can dissolve the thoughts that are blocking the free flow of abundance and prosperity from manifesting in your life.
But work performance wasn't the only thing that improved for this client.
"I feel like at least a half a million bucks right now with the changes in diet and nutrition. My pants are falling off of me. I am feeling way better physically. I've lost some weight and I am not experiencing the pains etc I was having in my body. I am committed 100% to keep going and never stop."
Focused on the Windshield Wiper
My client showed the amazing things that can happen when you focus on the road — instead of focusing on the windshield wiper.
As Jason said on the podcast:
"I remember when I when I was with (spiritual teacher) Mooji thirteen years ago and he used a windscreen wiper analogy. He's like, 'focus on the road.' You know, even though the windscreen wiper is going like this (back and forth), if you look at the windscreen wiper, you're gonna crash your car. And that's basically what we do, psychologically, physically. We're looking at the windscreen wiper and we go insane. We become unhealthy."
Are you sick and tired of being so focused on the back-and-forth of the windshield wiper that you're in danger of crashing — mentally, physically, or spiritually?
Are you ready to fast the mind so your natural "Pac-Man" can eat the dead thought cells that are clogging your mind and leading to agitation that prevents you from attaining peak performance?
If so, you'll love our Mindful Month Decelerator, which is about making it simple and easy to build a mindfulness habit over 30 days — learning to fast the mind on a regular basis so you can stop being the victim of your thoughts.
If you'd like to learn more, please click here to book a call with me.