I did a 24 hour fast a year ago. For whatever reason, I had a very blissful experience. I had this lightness throughout my body and mind. I was more patient, nothing seemed to bother me. Part of it was a pleasant peaceful mental state. But also, there was this great aliveness in my body. I felt more connected, in tune than I had been before.
This "awakening" lasted for about two weeks. I'm able to bring back the feeling somewhat if I: -Don't overeat, and eat paleo, esp. avoiding milk, grains, sugar. -Stay in balance, keep a good mental state, avoid stress. -Work in focused "pomodoros" at the office. 30 minute focus, 5 minute break or more. -Fast once a week for 24 hours.
I also try and meditate 30 minutes a day or so, and practice "mindfullness" whenever I don't HAVE to analyze something.
Is this type of awakening shared by anyone else? If so, what triggered/sustained it?
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I've certainly found a deeper spiritual connection with myself in improving my diet. There are a lot of factors that I think have played into this, I'll try to organize a bit here...
I spend a lot of time outside. This isn't necessarily new, I've always been into hiking, camping, and whatnot; but since going paleo there's a certain magic to the outdoors that was perhaps present, but not as actively perceived, previously. I think part of this is due to the fact that:
I spend time thinking about evolutionary origins, lineage, humans as a tribal people, what was going on the species 20,000 years ago and how it relates to me, why I feel the way I do; is there an evolutionary response that selected for this desire I'm currently having? Do I feel at peace walking in the trees because my ancestors have done so for all of history, and I'm connecting with these parts of myself that aren't readily offered to us in modern living? Perceiving a depth and history of the species gives one a sense of place and belonging, I think.
I also think to some degree that realization of a bigger picture, of tangible reasons for modes of being, gives way to some awareness of one's intrinsic reactions prior to the outward response; it sort of separates the perceiver out from the perceived, in pseudo-Buddhist terms. It's a way of being that is abstracted one layer out from the knee-jerk emotional response we have to life's turns. I find that not feeling prey to my emotions cultivates a sense of center.
At the same time: I think the ability to fully, viscerally, experience a given situation has come more fully into the light. The societally imposed notions of reservation, of 'playing-it-safe' have fallen by the wayside to some degree. Granted I'm still a generally fit-for-society animal, but I can jump in a lake without thinking about that article I read talking about rare lake-water parasites, and I can jump in the mud giggling my face off just for the sake of doing so, without thinking about laundry, the fact that I'm supposed to go back to work in an hour, etc. I think I've gained some further immersion in the present moment, in how to live [happily].
I also find that when I eat poorly, these days (sugar, especially): I feel foggy, unclear, scattered, unable to focus. The increased attention to detail, situational awareness, the ability to cultivate more meaningful connections with other humans as well as with my mileu - these are all benefits of the increase in my personal clarity, whether I decide to use them for spiritual realization or not, the increased physical/mental ability is there due to how I'm taking care of myself, and I personally come from a trail of learning that leans towards all of the above. I imagine with the prevalence of Buddhism in the west (yoga especially, as a gateway), more and more of us are semi-aware of our spirituality, and when combined with an exceptional increase in clarity, there's a certain click.
I think self-realization comes from a combination of having that thoughtful element to one's personality, being emotionally in the right place to explore these internal caves, and cultivating the clarity to do so. You'll find fasting and self-deprivation - not that I term paleo to be "self-deprivation" at all, but we are 'depriving' ourselves of the over-stimuli that clutters most modern folks - in most religious traditions, things like Lent, Ramadan, Vinaya rules, etc - these are all an attempt to cultivate the clarity that allows for self-realization.
I've done the Master Cleanse twice and it had some very interesting mental/spiritual effects.
I also feel that ketogenic intermittent fasting puts me in quite a zone, as well. Not quite as intense but I'm definitely in there.
I often reach a point during HIIT where I feel like I'm blasting off, too. I love it...