A Meditative Fast

My friend and I subscribe to The Mindfulness Bell and have read both issues avidly. They have been of great pleasure and benefit. Thank you! I have also been practicing with the group of people who meet at Lyn Fine's house in New York City. My Buddhist practice started several years ago with a Tibetan group, with whom I continue to practice, and finding Thich Nhat Hanh and the sangha around his teachings has been wonderful. I was particularly struck by the piece, "Slowing Down," and have been trying to find ways of slowing down in my own life. The greatest difficulty I have encountered thus far has been in the relationship with the man I live with. Although he is a practitioner and wishes also to slow down, he finds it more difficult than I do. We are still experimenting.

I would like to share a recent experience where my practice of mindfulness helped me not only to successfully complete a certain task, but made it a wondrous event. My doctor, whom I have been seeing for several minor ailments, suggested an eleven day detoxification program, the highlight of which was a water-only three day fast. I was intrigued and decided to try it.

A friend reminded me to practice mindfulness, especially during the water-only period. My three days of almost complete solitude, with a jug of spring water by my side, were very awake days. When I got hungry, I looked into the hunger and saw that at one moment my tummy was grumbling but that at another the hunger might be an odd physical sensation in my throat. I discovered that the hunger was constantly changing. After several minutes of mindful awareness, it usually disappeared. Most of the sensations I had during these three days were physical, and there were many of them. Mindfulness helped me discover their true nature.

I related my experiences to my doctor, who practices not only Western medicine, but also homeopathy, Chinese herbal medicine, and acupuncture as well as meditation. He liked the idea of using mindfulness and thought it might help his other patients.

I am very thankful for having come into contact with Thay's teachings, especially mindfulness and breath awareness. I hope I can carry a small piece of what I learned during those three days with me into the rest of my busy life.

Linda Wronker New York City

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