Taking Refuge in the Island of Self Breathing in,
I go back to the island of myself.
There are beautiful trees,
there is water, there are birds.
There is sunshine and fresh air.
Breathing out, I feel safe.
The fasting period offers a unique opportunity for body and mind to come to rest:
The reduction in food intake triggers a profound change in the metabolic processes of our body. The body begins to use its own resources and reduces its energy output. Measured physical activity such as walking in nature calms down and harmonises all bodily functions.
The fasting period is a time of simplicity: no radio, no TV, no mobile phone, no computer, no car, no easy reads, no newspapers.
In parallel to the switch in our metabolic process from external to internal input, we switch from external interests to introspection.
- Aspects regarding my external contacts are reduced to sympathy, love, affection, emotional security and solidarity
- Bodily aspects are reorganised during fasting: nutrition, fitness, health, illness and sexuality
- Perception-related aspects gain in importance: fundamental questions of life and purpose, belief and religion, philosophy of life, personal fulfilment
Outdoors, in nature, we exercise correct seeing and hearing. We again feel humidity, cold and warmth during prolonged walks. Physical performance and sensual performance are harmonised and simplified.
We once again learn to live more simple and more conscious, without pressure and stress, without excessive demands on our body and senses.
At the end of the fasting day – at best while the sun is setting – we allow our body and senses to fully come to rest.
As the sun sets and night follows day, we close the door to the talkative and busy external world and open the door to the room of quietness inside us.
This meditative and contemplative process allows us to recognise and explore our inner world. We learn something about the magnificence, depth and significance of this inner world. The restless body and agitated soul have finally come to rest. They can now regenerate and re-establish their harmonious interaction.
This state of rest and quietness is at the same time a state of heightened mental alertness. This meditative phase is the starting point of mindfulness exercises which we should learn to integrate into our daily lives.
Our meditative exercises are not related to any particular faith; rather, we utter prayers and let them penetrate deep into our hearts. During our half-hour long contemplative meditation sessions in the evening, we exercise mindfulness and awareness.
Introductory thoughts on Zen and other philosophies support the healing process because they help us to let go and to see things as they are.
There is a wonderful power in being silent – the power of clarification, purification, and the focus on what is essential