As hard as it might be to accept it, there are very few decisions that the human mind makes independently while interacting in our modern societies. We speak at length about freedom of speech and our abilities to freely express our thoughts when in fact, the reality of our actions and our very thoughts find their root in the methodical conditioning initiated at birth.
The first major conditioning results from the upbringing imparted from a meaningful childhood marked by suburban lifestyles and yearly exotic vacations, or at the opposite end, abject poverty, violence and reduced access to basic and fundamental rights.
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Our Relationship with Food
At the center of this conditioning is our relationship with food, which has been defined and exacerbated by a society that chooses a consumer over a human being, any day of the week. It is no wonder then, that over half of the American population is obese or suffering from all sorts of illnesses related not only to a poor diet but also, and more importantly, to a mind that has lost or surrendered its stewardship to ill-intended outside forces. A subservient mind will ultimately impact the body in a negative way. And while the human body is temporary by design and essence, it was not meant to endure the destructive nutritional habits of our modern societies.
Our efforts to reclaim the mind through self-realization and awareness are a great first step. It will, however, not provide what the mind truly needs to remove its shackles. There are just too many outside stimuli for the mind to thoroughly differentiate between what it is and what it should aspire to be, and if left to its own devices, the mind will gravitate toward comfort and the status quo.
Hacking the Mind
What the mind truly needs is a hack or an intervention, a sort of reset by which it temporarily relinquishes its control over the body to another entity. What better entity to take over than the body itself, functioning in the way it was designed and intended to. Engaging in the habit of fasting can help reset the mind in understanding what is truly vital and necessary for the body to thrive and perform.
Fasting is not new. Many religions and cultures have advocated for fasting in various forms for thousands of years. As an example, Muslims all over the world have been practicing fasting as part of their faith for centuries. It is no coincidence that during the holy month of Ramadhan, the reframing of the mind and the upliftment of the soul starts with the simple act of fasting. Through hunger and voluntary starvation, the body claims dominion over the mind and hereby focuses it on what matters most.
The Benefits of Fasting
The act of fasting brings the body in a state of ketosis, where the body burns fat as a fuel and is functioning at its peak for optimum results and enhanced focus. A secondary effect, and possibly one of the most important ones, is the fact that the mind is gradually weaning itself off the dependence on stimuli from its environment. The newfound awareness of the mind allows for better decision-making, gradually leading to a better lifestyle or at the very least, a better understanding of what the body requires to thrive.
Many have found fasting, intermittent or other, to be liberating in support of weight loss and overall better health. However, it is truly the state of ketosis and the ability to easily access this very state that could finally help the mind break free from the conditioning designed to keep it happily unaware of the destruction it brings to the body.
The next great human evolution will not be in technological advances, but in our ability to return to a simpler time where we admit that we have enough, and that we already are adequate.