Fasting and other nourishing practices

By: Sofia Aliño Logarta July 13,2016 - 09:54 PM

Celebrating Eid’l Fitr all together was very good for all of us. We had been reminded why our fellow Filipino Muslims go into fasting: it is considered a means of learning to empathize with the disadvantaged who are hungry most of the time.

The experience of the Ramadan, an entire month of fasting from sunrise to sundown was a very good time to teach delaying gratification. We do need to teach the young to wait, not to get instant satisfaction.

But there have been other ways by which the young can learn  to keep a place in their hearts for the needy. In UP Cebu, the Political Science Program had an immersion activity which involved living with a marginalized family. The students talked about their experiences on their way home. One student was quite surprised that the family she lived with did not even have a table for the family  to have their meal. Another expressed shock that there were no actual mealtimes and  the day progressed with family members just munching things now and then. This reminded me of a mother in a depressed area who when asked by her child where she can have breakfast, responded,  “Try going to your grandmother, she might have some food.” Every time we had these exposures, I would lose my choosiness with regard to food.

Fasting, many say, cleanses our body; so some people fast regularly. But I had been told the body needs to be ready to go into a fast; like you should have abstained from pork so that your system is not too acidic. Anyway I plunged into fasting without preparing and after a whole day of fasting had a terrible headache. It was because of my caffeine addiction. John the Baptist with his diet of honey in the desert and a regimen of self-denial had such a high emotional intelligence, he had such a fantastic response when he encountered Jesus at the Jordan.

The practice of abstinence is interesting.  Some belief systems rejected pork as food because it is unclean or had been invaded by evil spirits. Others refuse to eat beef because they consider the cow sacred as their mythology reveals.

Anthropologists have many survival stories to explain certain practices. In the case of the cow, it is said that in India, a tropical monsoon area, the cow is essential to their survival. It has many uses not only for the farmer but also for their wives. In fact, at an earlier time cow dung was a preferred fuel because it burned slowly. It was ideal for the multitasking woman, who could leave what she was cooking as she performed her many other tasks. What would happen it they killed the cow to eat its meat? They would be helpless when the rains came, no more reliable companion as they tilled the land and raised their crops. No more dependable fuel.

When I joined a group because I believed in P. T. De Chardin that we can evolve consciously, one of the practices encouraged was to go vegetarian. There were many explanations given for going into this practice. One was that our mouths were not meant for meat eating. Another was that the fears of the animal as it struggled when being slaughtered might become a part of our system. Perhaps the reason I like the most was that it would lead us towards nonviolence because going vegetarian suggests resisting cruelty in the slaughter of animals. I went into this for some time eating only cheese and crackers whenever there was a party.  I felt a lightness about me and even observed a glow in my skin. After some time my aunt requested that I return to my old diet; she had difficulty preparing two sets of meals.

I still believe that what we eat does have a great impact not only on our body but on our spirit as well. One day I felt very exhausted and dispirited. After getting the books I needed I bought and consumed a drink of carrots, apple and moringa. I was totally revived!

But its not only the food we take in. I believe that we are very much affected by the sounds our being absorbs. Before, when I was overstressed and weak, my friend Lourdes would ask, “You haven’t been listening to good music?” The rhythm of a mild rain makes me enjoy sleep better.  Nowadays, nourished by the early morning sounds of birds, insects and others, I feel refreshed early in the day.
But all that surrounds us can influence our wellness. I agree with the article that discussed all the wonderful things that happen to children as they care  for and relate to pets whether they be fish or puppies.

Recently, Brother Tagoy of USJ-R shared in LAW Center, Inc.’s Mata sa Kababayn-an the experience of a   group of women in San Roque, Talisay. They had been planting vegetables and ornamental plants. Most of their materials were reused elements. Their plants were flourishing. The women were truly joyful.  Bro. Tagoy declared that lately they have been encouraging the planting of fruit trees because the promise of fruits would discourage cutting them down.  He pointed out that planting and caring for trees, which would reduce global warming could be  very helpful for those who have decided to stop drug activities. Healing by Caring, healing oneself as one cares for Mother Earth. Bro. Tagoy urged us to let even the children join in greening projects. It is good to start learning early the nurturing spirit.

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TAGS: Anthropology, delaying gratification, Eid’l Fitr, fasting, nourishing practices, nurturing spirit, Ramadan, Society

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