Monday, August 5, 2013

Why do we fast?


It is a tradition in our nation that right before a person goes under instruction; they do a 3-day water only fast. I did one. I also wore no make-up. I felt like I was mini-pledging. I have heard some say they fasted for 7, 10 or 30 days on just water. I’m not saying I don’t believe that… I am saying sounds far fetched. VERY far fetched. Like having to walk to school with no shoes… for 10 miles… up hill… both ways… while it snowed in July….

I was about to take on a student a few months ago and I let her know that she needed to fast. She asked me why and I gave her the standard answers that one gives a student, but I don’t really think she got it. I must admit that the answers did sound a bit pre-prepared, even to my ears. I was sharing this with another of my friends who is currently under instruction. She was Earth back in the 80’s (she broke up with her 7 and that was a rap for being Earth) and has never been asked to fast. Her God said he didn’t fast either. Hmmm…. My prospective student refused and that was that for me. Her reasons for refusal also sounded pre-prepared; so I feel there was Equality about the transactions. But since then I was waiting for inspiration to write this Build. And I got it. So let me get it out…

Why do we fast?

I have heard some say, “It gets the pork out of your system.” On some level I agree with that. The metaphorical level. I on that level, I Cee pork as bullshit. It’s cleansing.

I have taught other women this culture and I have taught in general. I earned gold teaching adult learners for 5 years and babies for 2 years. I Know how to teach. Teaching adults is different than teaching children because adults recognize that they are adults and put limits on how they will be taught. A teacher can tell a child to do something and the child will do it; no questions asked. When teaching adults you have to compel them to do what you ask. Adults will tell you what they are and aren’t going to do and proceed that way. They don’t accept because I say so. So in order to effectively teach an adult you have to meet them where they are.

Fasting does a lot of things.
(1) It mentally prepares you for what’s to come. When I was in grad school, if I had a test I would fast before and eat after it was over. It gave me a clear sharpness that I needed. When I’d eat before a test, I’d come down with ‘itis.’ And possibly fall asleep.
(2) It makes you empathetic towards people who don’t have what you have.
(3) It binds you to your educator. Educators tend to stay close during this time. The student feels a closeness to the person who is about to walk them through 120
(4) It breaks down the will of the student. But not in a bad way. By choosing to give up a basic need because another person said to, you start the process of humbling yourself to your teacher.

Now someone might read this and say, “Fasting is for punks” or Fasting is going to make me a punk.” I say no it won’t. You can’t learn anything if you don’t humble yourself. Fasting opens you up to be receptive. And the final reason why I find fasting important, is (6) it’s is an important hurdle to overcome and a powerful tradition within our Nation. When you are Building with the older Gods and Earths, when they start talking about their fast… and they all have a story… you can add yours and feel included.