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Fasting - Body and Spirit
by Valerie Sartor
2016-07-22 11:05:20
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It is almost evening at the Goriainsynsk Resort. The temperature is minus 18, with no wind and a full moon. At 7PM, the snow glistens as I crunch along the path from building number 4 to the dining hall. Dinner is served from 7-8PM, a regular eating time for Russians. I am so delighted with the fact that today and yesterday I went three times a day to the dining hall to eat something. The portions, which may to a normal eye seem adequate, are dazzling to me, and I cannot finish the food. For dinner tonight I had Mongolian brick tea with milk and a small dab of honey, a raw vegetable salad of onions, red pepper, and tomatoes, a vegetable soup, and vegetable cutlets. I could only eat one cutlet. Dessert: a roasted pear, was too much for me, so I tucked it in a napkin to try to eat before bedtime.

This time, my fasting experience has not been completed with a vision. Instead, I have experienced a profound joy at being in a physical body that operates well, that moves, breathes, eats, pees, and feels. Perhaps I have finally accepted this physical covering I was born into - most women, as you may well know, have trouble ever fully accepting themselves. Something is always wrong: feet are too big, breasts are too small, skin has wrinkles and spots. I hope the feeling of delight at experiencing physical pleasure in this skin stays with me as I leave tomorrow.

During the seven days of my stay here, the fasting doctor, Lilia, a Buryat woman in her 40s, gave us fasters two very stimulating lectures. The first talk addressed how fasting helps the body, how it can be difficult, how water is so important, and how everyone has a different experience.

This afternoon Lilia spoke again. She focused her speech on how to continue to stay "clean" after leaving the resort. "You must be diligent for at least two weeks, hopefully a month," she said, "in not putting salt or sugar in your body. First of all, it can cause some people problems, such as terrible edema, or a return of Type 2 diabetes. Second, you have done so much to start the internal cleansing process, why let it be ruined now?" 

Lilia described how fasting not only cleans out the digestive channel, clears bile, and even ejects kidney stones, as well as allows us to lose weight. "Fasting helps your body to reconstruct itself, to build more cells, healthy cells. The unhealthy ones are consumed in the fasting process.This process actually sets back time."

She also said that every person has a unique body, with different reactions to the fasting process. When I told her about my positive feeling toward my body, as opposed to the vision of my grandfather I had when fasting in February 2014 here, she said: "They are both good. Perhaps you needed, as all people need, whether they understand this or not, to be aware of your ancestors. These ancestors sit on our shoulders, they guide us and ground us as we go through life. We are our past and our future, a human life is not just one spirit in one body. It is a flow, a connection, to our blood and to our land, and to the energy, all around us. This time, perhaps, like many people, you are becoming more comfortable with your physical self. That's also good. Humans need to love ourselves in order to appreciate and love others." 

We seven all sat in the communal room, entranced, listening to Lilia. More than an alternative thinker, Lilia is trained as both a MD and as a psychotherapist. She explained that we had cleaned our internal organs and that we could also cleanse our mind. She described how to dispel negative thoughts and negative words that had been directed at us. "Massage behind our ears,right in that little cleft," she said. She added that you can get rd of anger if you lightly pound on the upper chest. She explained that it was useful when angry to make faces at ourselves in the mirror, for at least five minutes, and talk in a nonsense language. "Children do this," she said, "they understand how to rebalance themselves naturally, and then they forget." 

At the end of the talk, Lilia gave us a parable. 

"There once were two men who lived in a far away land long long go. One man, despite was envious that the other was considered wise, and that he had such a large following. So the envious man decided to trick him up in public. He would go to the wise man, and ask him if he could guess if anything were in his hands. If he said "Yes," then he would ask which hand. If he guessed correctly, he would ask what was in the hand. The envious one decided to use a butterfly, because if the wise man guessed he had a butterfly, he would then ask if it were dead or alive. If the wise man said it were alive, he would crush the creature. If he said it were dead, he would open his hand and let him fly away, thus causing ridicule to the man. 

The meeting day came, and the envious man came to the wise man, asked his questions. 

"Is there anything in my hands?" asked the envious man.

The wise man said, "Yes, there is something in your right hand." 

"What is it?" asked the envious man.

"A butterfly," said the wise man.

"And is it alive or dead?" asked the envious one.

"That, my friend, is up to you: it's in your hands," said the wise man.

Lilia smiled and looked at us. "So it is up to you my dear friends, to decide for yourselves as well, how much you wish to promote your own life after fasting. I can only suggest that you do this process regularly, maybe a 4-7 seven day fast once a year, with a twice a month 24 hour fast, to keep your body cleansed, and to promote spiritual growth. You must choose what to do after you leave here, what you will do with your bodies and souls."







All the photos by Valerie Sartor

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