Daily life gives countless opportunities to practice letting go of control. I was reflecting on this whilst sitting in heavy traffic on my way in to work this morning. A trip that usually takes an hour was now up to an hour and a half and counting..
Sitting there at the wheel, I remember at one point commending myself on how well I was managing to remain calm by detaching my mind through simply observing the feelings in my body. Next thing though my mind swept me away into thinking about work, and in particular about a shipment of stock which had been delayed and I had been waiting on all week. This triggered feelings of frustration which obviously then tipped me over the edge because before I knew it I was complaining about the traffic and reminding my wife and daughter that had we left the house on time we wouldn’t be dealing with this traffic!
This little example serves as a reminder of just how transient our peace of mind can be. It appears evident that trying to control things external to us is largely a fruitless exercise. We may at times get what we want through behaving in a demanding or manipulative manner but it brings with it very little true satisfaction and ultimately takes us further away from what we really want, which is to be able to live from our higher self.
Letting go of the need to control, is one of life’s hardest lesson for many of us. In our relationships, we often struggle the most with coming to terms with the truth that we cannot control the behaviour of others.
I’ve recently found myself coming to this realisation parenting my 9 year old daughter. Up until recently, I’d alway found that when I needed to, I could always revert to my technique of raising my voice when I wanted her to do something. Now that she is more independent these days though, I’m learning (the hard way sometimes) that being demanding doesn’t really work anymore. If I truly want to influence her behaviour, it has to first come through my own behaviour first. In other words the only real control I have is with the choice of my own words and actions.
So what does this have to do with Fasting?
Peace of mind, equanimity, or simply the diminished need to control things, comes from a place of balance. This is where we exist in a healthy body and mind, unburdened both physically and mentally. In this state because we are not feeling out of control ourselves, there isn’t the need to control others and the world around us. From here, we are less reactive as our thoughts have less power over us. Space exists for peace of mind, and with it we can make healthier choices about our actions.
Fasting or calorie restriction creates space in the body-mind for the miracle of life to flow into. By doing so, it re-tunes our innate ability to effectively self-regulate. Physiologically this is reflected in the lowering of cellular inflammation, improvements in our ability to utilise and generate energy, and the up-regulating all of our genes (to name a few). Psychologically, this same space created allows grace to manifest, making us less attached through either craving or aversion to the world of sense objects i.e. food, money and social acceptance.
For me, accessing the “fasted state” most days as I do through intermittent fasting brings a period of balance and calmness into my day which generally allows me to work through it more successfully. (I wrote more about how intermittent fasting works for me here for those who are interested).
In a modern world obsessed with consumerism and perpetually wanting more, I find fasting to be almost like an antidote acting against this tide towards excess. Fasting can be a valuable practice in gaining control of our inner world, simply by creating space, which allow us choices, that in turn give us freedom.
To comment, please click here
Aaron Travers is author of “The Boda Fast – a three step plan to lower inflammation, maximise fat burning and restore vitality”. Aaron writes at www.thebodacleanse.com.au and shares his ideas and experiences on health and wellbeing from his personal life and through working with clients clinically and those doing his “supported fasting” programs. Every Friday he sends out his newsletter, click below to subscribe.