…a movement from an exterior mode of consciousness to a fuller sense of interiority.
H2O makes up between 60—80% of our body, depending upon whose science you subscribe to. Regardless, humans can only live a few days without it, depending on circumstances. We can live without food, however, for 2—3 weeks, depending again…. As far as air deprivation goes, unless you are a Herculean Guinness Book world record holder athlete, or, underwater swimmer, a few minutes without and you’ve likely crossed over to shake hands with your maker’s extended family, as long as your Truth accepts that viewpoint. Me? I dunno. No experience.
I’ve never completed a water fast before, nor any other type. Any fast requires planning and should not be executed for long periods, unless under qualified and experienced supervisory personnel. I had planned a 5-day experience, but, as the saying goes: Life is what happens when you’re making other plans. Sister tells me: ‘We Otvos’s overdo things to extremes.’ Karma, eh? hahaha Sheesh!
Four days before the planned event, I began to lower my total caloric intake and was meditating more regularly. This is a large part of the key secret to those who live in the Blue Zones, the areas where folks routinly live to be 100 years old or more. Additionally, older folks in these areas, eat little animal foodstuffs, concentrating in the main, on whole plant foods, exercise, community engagement and companionship. Yeah team!
- Okinawa, Japan
- Sardinia, Italy
- Loma Linda, CA, USA
- Costa Rica’s Nicoya Peninsula
- Ikaria, Greece
Ostensibly, I did have the intention of losing 2-3 kilos, not that I was grossly overweight, but a slight belly roll needed a trim for spring. Long cold winters here in Canada, do shut us single rural elders in more often; therefore, the temptation to self-medicate with excess calories especially in the evening when absolutely uneeded can go unheeded. I also was interested in a cleanse of any residual toxicity in my body, plus releasing any fat ingrown through my organs and their surrounding tissues. What I did not count on, was the unexpected delight of the silver lining. I’ll save that for later savouring.
Day –1: Tuesday, April 21st. I last ate at 7:30 PM. No further food nor water past 7 PM. As a former EBRT patient, if I drink past that witchin’ hour, I’ll be up multiple times during REM to visit the urinal, since I now have a 2-1/2 hr only bladder. This is a lingering side-effect from electronic beam radiation treatment. At least the tumour in my doughnut has left the playin’ field, being now discharged, these past two years.
Day 1: I drank a full 12 oz glass of H2O every hour from sunrise to sunset, about 13 in all 7 AM—7 PM. I set the timer on the stove to one hour before each drink. No food whatsoever. Yeah, plenty of pee breaks feeling the wind in my face and his, in the mountainside backyard, such as it is. I live and garden at the edge of a forest. Some may be familiar with the adage postulated by a seasoned rishi/shaman/guru, that if you cannot throw one off your back step, yur livin’ too close! What I thought were hunger pangs, 4X that first mornin’, were in effect, only stomach contractions. I became the more astute witness to my own body sensations, which, was a delightful harbinger for the entirety of the fast. These muscle contractions lasted a millisecond, but with the house locked down with no screens, i.e., no large screen evening Netflix nor clicking through the 120 odd YouTube channel subscriptions, not even the desktop computer for world event news and inevitable emails. Friends and acquaintances would have to wait for their pocket notifications. True friends did call, as did I them. It’s crucially important to not do anything with much physical or emotional exertion. Save your energy as it will surely drain hourly. This also means no vehicle usage or any other machinery. Your sense of control will likely be compromised. My thought has been for a long time, that we have capitalism and we have an unfolding climate catastrophe moving at warp speed upon us with now this COVID-19 pandemic, all caused by an economic system based entirely upon profit rather than wellbeing; so then, what else does one need to know? Leo Tolstoy teaches that knowldege is limitless, so the difference between those who know a lot and those who know little, is infinitesimal.
Coincidently, those all begin with the letter C, see/sea? Water eh? hahaha
Day 2: This time the tummy sent contractions with a 1—2 sec. duration, but, only in the early AM. There was a slight blizzard where the snow did now stay, yet a deposit of 10mm persisted for a spell. Reason? Same as the 2″ hail in the southern US, the hundreds of tornadoes outta season and the tragic loss of life. The prolonged cold in northern climes such as the late spring here in NS. Russia experienced the warmest Jan. & Feb. in history [+5° C over normals] since the 1840s, when meteorological records began being regularly kept. Moscow was a balmy 21°C this past January with no snow. Oh well. The Arctic polar air vortex, aka the jetstream, has collapsed. I began reading 2-yr. old back issues of The Sun, a magazine in print since 1974 published in North Carolina, editor: Sy Safransky, dropped off by a very dear friend. Meditation became progressively easier and most importantly, I wanted to remain in the chair for this Aching legs zazen as Alan Watts referred to the Buddhist method of long intervals. ‘Cept, I employ a chair, as my ole knees no longer allow the crossed leg habit.
That night, I filled the tub so as to lounge up to my neck in very hot water, not so hot as to develop red capillary skin damage, but, quite luxurious, nonetheless. Yeah, I know, that damned carbon footprint gets us every time. The absurdity of being human simultaneously. I had planned to listen to an old cassette tape recording of a man I really appreciate: The Reverend James Sherman, pastor of Unity Church Toronto, ON. The subject was: How To Pray, a tape I sincerely love and enjoy reacquainting my noodle, by listening every few years. I originally took part as a congregational person in 2004 for the original sermon. The giving was 50 minutes long. Normally I only soak/bathe for 1/2 hour at most. It’s good prep for a soundless sleep. As I stood up to get out and dry off, I instantly became dizzy, fainted loosing consciousness briefly, then instantly coming out of that after a very bad bang on the back of the head; the proverbial wake-up call. Low blood sugar from the fast + excess heat and my senior status, well.
Food deprivation and prolonged excessive heat had gripped this 72-yr. old bawdy, so grabbing hold of the wall in front…after that, it was a blanked blur. Struggling to get up, I found my bite plate, chomped on the bit and fell onto the bed, too fatigued and disoriented to get under the plumo [sp?], you know better as an eiderdown or duvet.
Day 3: Outta the sack @ 6:30 AM, after tossing and turning all night, waking far too early, I awoke to see copious amounts of blood on both pillows. I wandered into the bathroom where I had fainted, saw my head blood on the floor and where my noggin had bonked the hardwood door. As I brushed my longish hair [lockdown is forcing new hairstyles] sorry Shelley, I passed over the goose egg et quelle surprise. Ouch!
to wit: pg 95: “It is thus a common joke that believers in the unreality of matter have difficulty in convincing anyone of the unreality of pain.”
There was a faith healer from Deal,
Who said, “Although pain is not real,
When the point of the pin
Goes into my skin,
I dislike what I fancy I feel.”
Those sheets got spot cleaned and washed twice, then christened the rotary line outside for the initial warm breath of spring air. Nothing better in life then a naked bod betwixt clean laundered sheets hung on an outdoor line. Well, let’s not get too risqué, huh? In Courtenay, BC, the condo regulation where I briefly owned, prevented any such airing of one’s dirty laundry. A pox on rules for looks alone! ‘Sides, I’m an anarchist anyway[s].
I decided not to quit the fast, but, vowed 3 days was ’nuff. I would end fasting the next day on Sat. morning and ingest some sustenance. Normally, I set out breaky with a plate load of frozen berries, then meditate. That morning, I was able to turn the 15-minute “hour” glass over 3X, remaining seated, as minutes turned into flashes of insight. I would look at the emptied sand particles in the upper chamber and—so? Oh~kay. This was the first time ever. The fast had caused me to love zazen. I finally felt a becoming, a Oneness with All That There IS! A most brief unstimulated high.
Earlier in the day, I had completed reading Alan Watts’s final book, released posthumously in 1975 by his wife, 2 years after he departed our common terra firma.
Day 4: Down for the count:
- Saturday, April 18th. >169 lbs
- Wednesday, April 22nd. >165 lbs
- Saturday, April 25th. >159 lbs
- Sunday, April 26th. >161 lbs
I first ate at 10:30 AM, which, is consistent with my normal practice of 2 meals/day and intermittent fasting, i.e., 16 hrs. between meals. Light eating was the prerequisite, not too much, with plenty of liquids. WOW, how good food tasted! My normal practice is to lay everything out on a plate, as I usually eat between 10 to 20 different types of whole plant foods. But the taste, my gawd! Like many, I too, used to toss everything into one bowl, mix ’em up and use a lever [spoon/fork] as one would a shovel.
Feel the beating 💗 of the Sufi poet, regrading smell, taste etc., ~Ibn al ‘Arabi from his Theophany of Perfection:
Belovèd, how often have I called you and you do not hear?
How often have I stood before you,
and you do not witness Me?
How often have I embodied Myself in scents,
and you do not inhale?
And in the flavours and you do not savour the taste
for My sake?
What is the matter with you,
that you do not feel me when you touch?
Why do you not recognize Me in the fragrances of musk?
Why do you not see Me, why do you not hear Me?
What is the matter with you?
What is the matter with you?
*Ahhh, when the call comes and it’s the low time for Beethoven’s first movement, you may experience some time delay. With no fibre pushing the muse along, it does tend to compress and dry out. Gives new meaning to the words, sucked dry. This is meant only as a caution, so take care and enjoy the throne read, while leaning forward, so your forearms rest on your thighs, as that’s the recommended posture from Dr. Michael Greger, my main man, i.e., [only the science folks] if you are not assuming an African or Asian squat position.
Here’s the silver lining readers have been patiently salivating for. In a few words, clarity, complete calm, a clear serenity of Being, plus a sense that whatever was happening in the human-centred world was just fine, regardless of attributing fault, blame, rightness or wrongness, shame or other witless, sarcastic commentary. Whenever any negative thought would form into my awareness, it would be witnessed by the watcher, acknowledged and immediately vanish from whence it came—on its own accord! When it comes to judging others, the Christian Bible in Luke:6:42 and I parapharse in current lingo~ ‘Hypocrite! First extract the tree trunk lodged within your own eye, then sea clearly how to remove the tree’s twig that’s stuck in your sister or brother’s eye.’
As Alan Watts teaches us in his last work: Tao The Watercourse Way , I was able to really focus on the matter at hand. Since I had previously shut off all the screens, books, magazines, classical and folk music came fullstream back into my life. How easy it is to turn on some flick or YT vid and get sucked into someone else’s form of what’s important. What then took the place of the negativity was a profound Love and great warmth of feeling for all life and existence itself. The HeartMath Institute teaches us that the heart produces an electromagnetic aura 60X larger than our brain.
As Alan teaches any who will pay attention, the things we term opposites are really polarities. One cannot have a coin without a head and tail, No battery without a positive and negative terminal. No wave without a trough and crest. I look forward to going back to that home again and again.
Changes in our lives start with changes in our thoughts. Changes in how we think are much more important than the efforts we make to change our lives” ~ Leo Tolstoy April 26th Wise Thoughts For Everday. Tolstoy was a devout Christian, yet an avantgarde one, by firmly believing in the human intellect. He was a vegan, like eye.
All in all, yet another feeble attempt to walk my talk, yet, 🎶I’m so happy to be alive🎶; I’m also pleased that you’re here. 🙏
Your experience will differ.
I AM John Gabriel Ötvös, aka jayöh.
PS: About the I AM, to be continued….