This article is shared with permission from our friends at www.artofwellbeing.com.
Checking your Facebook compulsively? Bored all of the time? Resisting anything inspirational or ‘good for you’ in favor of epic-length Netflix binges?
Check, check and check!
It may be that your sanity levels would benefit from a little spiritual ‘fasting’. I’ll explain what to abstain from and what to nourish yourself with later.
First, some more clues that you are in need:
- Indecisiveness with how to spend the time
- A general lack of clarity
- Life seems to lack meaning and purpose
- The days are joyless
- You are sad for no reason
- You are looking for ways to feel crappy about yourself
- You are bringing your mates down with your negativity
- Your heart hurts
- You can’t feel anything at all
- Happy people piss you off
- You don’t sleep well
- You can’t even remember the last time you you took a walk, watched the sunset or sunrise or walked barefoot
The idea behind taking one of your weekend days to ‘step out’ of your ordinary life is simple: it will show you the effects of what you are feeding your spirit, and should cause you to be more conscious about that going forwards.
You should also experience rest and renewal.
Anatomy of a Spiritual Detox
You are going to enter a sort of quarantine for the day – it’s only a day!
Tell your friends/family that you love them and you are taking time out for you. Obviously, if you keep conventional working hours, you will do this on a weekend.
Solitude is scary for a lot of us, which is a shame because it is really a powerful facilitator of self-knowledge and truth. If we could lose our terror of being left alone with our own thoughts without engaging in distraction, we would probably all be a lot happier.
That said, you aren’t going to be completely without purpose on your detox day. You will actually be replacing normal activities with one or two simple pursuits that bring you pleasure (see below). You will be switching mental (over) stimulation for meditative activities and sensual delights.
You are going to see what there is to see, and feel what there is to feel. If you do that, then you will know what there is for you to know.
I’d really recommend that you don’t ‘go public’ about what you are doing. When we share things like this, it tends to take our attention away. The point is to keep your attention on you all day.
Below are the elements of your 1 day fast, along with ideas for practices you can incorporate into your day-to-day life afterwards.
Take Out the Tech
You knew it was coming: no online use for the whole day.
That includes Facebook, email, Tinder, whatsapp and Netflix. I would suggest that you refrain from listening to music too, as we can use that as a way to ‘escape’ which isn’t the objective here.
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The point of this is dramatically reducing the outside noise.
Ongoing Practice: Turn off notifications. You may find, following a few information fasts, that you no longer wish to be interrupted constantly by whatsapp, Facebook and email alerts (also known as Other People’s Agendas), preferring instead to check in at your will.
Add in One or Two Simple Activities That Bring You Joy
This is how you will be spending the day – it is your food.
If you have forgotten how it is that you enjoy yourself without your phone or computer, think back to the activities you enjoyed as a child.
- Drawing, painting or coloring
- Gardening, walking in nature, or climbing things
- Playing an instrument
The thing that these activities all have in common is they are ‘meditative’ activities – simple practices that should help you to become present.
Ongoing Practice: Do something you love for at least half an hour each day.
Add in Something Ceremonial
Taking a candlelit bath, burning incense, preparing yourself a meal from scratch – the idea here is to do something extremely loving towards yourself.
The reason for this is that it puts you in touch with yourself. It is another way of tuning in.
Ongoing Practice: Have a self-love practice each day.
Add In Awareness
Frustration, distraction, anger, loneliness, boredom. Notice where they feel in the body and bring your awareness to them. Breathe!
This is the juicy part. Removing the external barrage of mental junk-food lets us confront our feelings and – hopefully – surrender into and stop avoiding them. The power in doing that is that the feelings stop having power over us.
Ongoing Practice: Instead of escaping feelings using alcohol (insert numbing mechanism of choice), noticing them, naming them, and bringing your breath to them.
Add In Acknowledgement
At the end of your day, award yourself big kudos for taking the time for yourself. Make a physical note of what you learned, even if it’s as simple as ‘I really enjoy coloring in’.
In fact it is a great idea to journal throughout the day if you feel like it – recording your emotions and responses.
Schedule your next mind holiday.
What to Eat and Drink
As one of the purposes of this exercise is to improve the verocity of your inner voice, it is a good idea to unburden the digestive system so that you can keep your attention on your awareness. No need to fast, but here are some guidelines you could follow:
- Wait until you get really hungry before eating in the morning. Don’t just eat your breakfast (or any meal for that matter) on automatic.
- Eat light throughout the day. Make your meals simple food combinations (fruits alone, eat protein/starches separately with vegetables).
- Eat mindfully. Focus on the process.
- Avoid too much caffeine – and any alcohol.
Avoid heavy exercise too as it is stressful to the body.
What To Expect
This might sound like heaven to you – you might find it easy. If that is the case, you were probably in serious need of relaxation and you may need a few rounds or a longer process to start to get to the junk.
If by 10 am you are already feeling antsy and distracted, that is a great sign that the process really will be beneficial for you (provided that you ride it out)!
Given how much effort you probably put into looking great, taking a 24 hour break from mind junk food is the least you can do to keep your spirit happy, wouldn’t you say?
Each time we quieten down like this, shutting off the outside environment to tune in, our heart’s voice gets louder – and the benefits of that extend to every aspect of life.
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