Way of the Heart: Lesson Two - Question One
What did you experience when you went to the desert for forty days and forty nights? And what was the purpose of doing a fast?
Beloved friend, first, the purpose of the fasting was two-fold. The body is, indeed, a communication device. It receives and transmits what you might think of as signals. And we would emphasize here, for your benefit, that the body receives signals as well as it transmits them from your mind.
As you go through your normal day, you are abiding in a certain vibrational field. That vibrational field requires that you, within some boundary, live in such a way that you can effectively communicate and relate within that vibrational field. Therefore, the body learns to adapt to where you are placing it, and what you have decided to use the body for. When the soul is desirous of shifting vibrational frequencies, so that it might receive new signals, it is very valuable to prepare the body by shifting it out of its normal patterns.
For instance, each time that you eat a certain food, and you eat it daily, daily, daily, daily, month and year on end, the body adapts to that vibrational frequency. It learns how to receive the energy of that substance, to conform to that substance, to abide with that substance, and then utilize the energy of that substance. When you shift away from that substance, there is a space that is created. There is a time frame, if you will, in which the body now is no longer receiving the signals that substance brings. And it creates, shall we say, a pause. The very intelligence in the cellular structure of the body pauses. And as it pauses, you can begin to send new signals to the cells to be open, to be receptive, to attune themselves to new frequencies which can then be received.
Therefore, it is a very common practice amongst spiritual paths, that when the soul is desirous of deepening its sense of self-awareness, deepening its connection with God, however you wish to view this, that which is called fasting has always been known to help facilitate such a shift, because it puts the body at rest. It takes it out of its normal range of vibrational experience so that it can be open, it can become attuned to new frequencies. So the fasting has that purpose, by way of preparation.
But secondly, this also affects the nature of the mind itself, the thinking mind that is linked to the body and to the vibrational field of physicality. Through the process of fasting, the mind also slows down. It becomes more open. Spaciousness is created within it. And why is that valuable? Because the soul wants to begin sending new signals down through the levels or depths of Mind, through the thinking mind, down into the cells of the body. It’s seeking to recreate its perceptions, its structure that your lower self, your egoic mind, the mind that carries you through the day, has been operating from. It’s seeking to change this. So fasting is not just a matter of the body, alone. It affects the thinking mechanism of the brain, as well, allowing new electrical signals to pulse through the brain and down through the body. And likewise, it creates a spaciousness so that new frequencies can be received.
It is not unlike living in a house in which you have a certain music playing at a certain volume all of the time, and then, suddenly, decide that perhaps you would like to hear the sound of the birds outside the window. So you reach over to the dial (do you not?) and you turn the volume of the music down. You change the field in which you are having experience. And then as the volume decreases, you begin to hear the background — it has always been there — of the singing birds outside the window. And your attention begins to turn from the vibrational field of the music you’ve been listening to, to the vibrational field of the song of the bird. New images come, new thoughts come, new feelings come through the body.
So fasting serves that purpose. At a deeper level, view fasting as a deliberate decision that really has nothing to do — levels of meaning — with just food. It is the decision to interrupt patterns that have become habitual. So you fast from sound, you fast from negative thinking. You fast from being busy. You fast from going to bed at the same time every day. You fast from arising at the same time every day, for a day, for two days, for a week, for a month, for forty days and forty nights.
You totally change certain patterns. And just as the effect of releasing the body from habitual use of a certain substance creates a space in which something new can take place, fasting from the simple time frame that you’re used to arising in the morning, will create a spaciousness in the mind. And you’ll become aware of things that you didn’t know were going on. You’ll receive signals that you hadn’t received before.
When I first came to this, my beloved brother, in order to begin to recultivate our communication ability, I often came to him, and then, later, suggested to him, that he take up the practice of arising at 3 o’clock in the morning. That was not his customary time. And yet, by so doing, he fasted from his normal habit, which heightened his sense of awareness and created, or cultivated, the ability within the brain structure and within the nervous system, to become attuned to the rarefied frequencies that are always there, but are often drowned out, because you’re still asleep. And the rest of the world around you has not yet awakened to fill the vibrational field with all the noise of millions of minds actively running about.
So that is the deeper meaning of fasting. It is doing things in a new way, fasting from old habits, which heightens your sense of awareness, your vigilance to what is present. Fasting is something that is extremely valuable and should be done by everyone, from time to time. We speak here not just of an occasional fasting of the body, but to begin to look at all of the habits you have, even the ones that are positive. If you go into your meditation room at the same time every day, the body and the mind begins to anticipate what ought to happen through learned experience. So go at a different time. If you are used to certain prayers, use different ones, from time to time. If you are used to abiding with certain friends on a regular basis, shift from time to time. If you are used to talking a lot, spend a day in silence.
Begin, then, to look at the habits you have cultivated that are almost continual — so much so that you never think about them. And then, set aside a time deliberately to fast from that habit. If one has the habit of reading the Sunday paper, go for a month in which no paper is read, and observe how this creates space for you to begin to not only perceive things differently, but to receive different impulses. You’ll find new thoughts will come about how to utilize that time differently. Fasting is an art, and one well worth cultivating within yourself.
Now, what did I experience in the desert for forty days and forty nights? Fear, cold, heat, boredom, mental busyness, hunger, joy, ecstasy, delight, freedom, out-of-body experiences, clairvoyance, clairaudience, visitation by angels, visitation by creatures that should have struck fear in me. You would call them snakes, spiders. Hmm.
Beloved friends, such a journey puts you in a position where you can no longer be distracted from all of the “stuff” that is going on in your daily consciousness. It is a time of purification … purification by having no opportunity to escape from truly observing everything that is going on within the field of one’s consciousness. There arose within me thoughts of hating God. There arose thoughts within me of deciding to serve Satan instead of God. There arose thoughts within me of wanting to abandon my roots and become a very wealthy merchant surrounded by, what you call, the “dancing ladies” . . . hmm? If you can imagine any thought, positive or negative, rest assured that within that forty-day period, some symbol of that thought also arose within me to be experienced — even cellularly in the body. Self-doubt arose, anger arose. It all arose. The whole field of human consciousness arose within me within those forty days and forty nights.
So that whole time period was a fast. And that was the purpose of removing myself from all communication with anyone, from all comforts that I had become accustomed to. There was only me with myself. And by abiding with myself, I learned that I was never alone. The negative things, as you might describe them, tended to come up after about the fifth day and through approximately the twentieth day. Then it began to shift as I began to notice that I could dis-identify with those things. I didn’t have to judge them. I could notice being cold and just accept it.
The body’s cold. So what? \ The body’s hungry. So what? \ I’m desirous of seeing my friends and dancing and singing. So what?
I observed things arise. And finally, it was like they knew they had no place to make a home in my mind. And so, they subsided.
And just as when you physically fast, finally the body is empty. And the cellular structures of the body can begin to repair and heal at a deeper level. The nervous system can rest deeply. Likewise, my mind began to rest. And a spaciousness was created. And during the twentieth to about the twenty-fifth day, I could feel a transition occurring, as my consciousness began to let go of the world I had known. And everything and everyone became as a distant memory.
And more and more, I noticed that a Light was being birthed or turned on within me. A spaciousness was being created. And out of that spaciousness, I began to tap into levels of consciousness that I had, in fact, experienced before. But now, I had time to really cultivate being with those frequencies in which I could receive communication from other teachers in nonphysical realms.
I began to feel the great Love of God as I’d never felt it before. It came, not just as a thought or an inspiration or a fleeting feeling, but it came to seep down, if you will — and here I speak metaphorically — but a seeping down through my Mind and through the cells of the body and through the nervous system of the body. It came to be grounded, if you will, throughout my whole being. The deep peace, the perfect trust, the recognition that I was not alone, that I had everything I ever needed, because I was One with God.
So there were many states of bliss and of ecstasy, many states of transcending identification with the body and suddenly being transported to other realms and other worlds. Pictures of the rest of my life’s path began to emerge, as though coming up out of the soil of the busyness of my mind and all the things — just like you — that I had to do just to take care of daily affairs. None of it was there to disturb me. And the deeper purpose began to reveal itself.
And I heard the Voice of my Father speak to me on what you would know as about the thirty-seventh day. And the Voice came clearly from around me and within me, saying unto me,
You are My Beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.
And suddenly, I realized the Truth that is true always:
God loves me.
I need do nothing.
I am as my Father created me to be.
And the opinions of the world dissolved out of my field of awareness, my energy field, if you will. And I began to be fully stabilized in what you might call an enlightened state of mind. I no longer identified myself as the son of Joseph. I identified myself as the Son of God.
So that is a synopsis of what I experienced during my pilgrimage and my fasting. The forty days and forty nights, by the way, was a numerological representation that was very important in the schools of thought in which I was reared. It represented a time of birthing, experience, and disillusion. It’s like a cycle — forty days and forty nights — to be taken more metaphorically than literally. And when I returned, all things had been made new and different. Jeshua ben Joseph had, indeed, journeyed to the desert, but the Son of God is who returned. Therefore, beloved friend, occasionally, give yourself permission to fast from the habits you have created.