Sunday, October 9, 2011

A more meaningful fast

In the LDS church, we are asked to fast once a month, meaning we abstain from food and water for 2 meals and give the money that we saved on not eating to the church to then give to the needy. Read more about this here. I just wanted to share something that has made my fast more meaningful. I don't at all advocate this as necessary or even beneficial to all, but just to suggest it as something that has been meaningful to me. I also don't want to suggest that I've moved past "regular" fasting. I still struggle with regular fasting, a lot. But here is something that has helped me to add meaning my fast and focus on the real reasons for it.

The last four or five times I've fasted I've tried to fast from more general consumption. I'm not consuming food or water, so I thought I'd avoid other forms of consumption too, and try to have it as a day where I focus on creating. What that has meant in practice is mainly avoiding consuming media, although I also have avoided shopping or other forms of entertainment while I'm fasting. I'm a big media guy. I don't watch too many movies, but I do read a lot of books, news and listen to music and audiobooks frequently. Giving those up, while it should easy, has proven very difficult, but rewarding.

I think the main benefits are that I have a quiet space in my life and my mind to contemplate where I am at and what I am fasting for. I think creation is such an important part of life that I often miss out on by consuming too much. Creation, for me, takes a wide variety of forms. Writing this blogpost is creation, while reading other blogposts would be consumption. Cleaning the house on Saturday night (or sometimes on Sunday, when there is a need) creates a more peaceful and mindful atmosphere in the home. Spending time with my family creates bonds that will last. All these things and others are what I like to focus on while I'm fasting from consuming.

Some caveats: I do read scriptures and other church materials while I'm fasting, but I try to focus on what I am supposed to become from reading, rather than just the stimulating and enjoyable act of consumption reading that I do otherwise.

So, what do our readers do to enhance their fasts (if you fast) or how have you found room in your life for creation? Leave a comment, if you please.


  1. When I was pregnant or nursing and unable to fast I would usually do what you from computers, tv, etc. and try to focus my mind on the Savior. It was a really nice experience each month.

  2. I really liked this Tim. It gave me food for thought. Pun intended.

  3. Tim, this is a splendid idea. I don't struggle to go without food when I fast, but I find it very difficult to make the experience meaningful. Your insight and tactics here could revolutionize the way I approach my fasting. Thank you.