Sunday, December 18, 2011

Unexpected Benefits of Fasting

Obviously the main goal of fasting is to practice, and hopefully cultivate, self-control. I've found that one of the means by which I am coping with the desires I am attempting to suppress while fasting has made me more gracious.

For example, when I was craving chocolate ice cream, I decided to go out and buy it, but instead of for myself, I bought it for my roommate as a little surprise. I could not enjoy the chocolate ice cream, but she could, and did, and it was as if I fulfilled my craving vicariously through her. I guess my rationale was that my craving wouldn't go to waste, someone benefited from it, and that made all the difference.

I did the same thing with my other roommate as well, again with chocolate. We were in the middle of exams and I had the urge to indulge in my favorite chocolates, using the excuse that it would encourage me while studying. I bought several bags of various chocolates and made a "trail mix" of them all. I was horrified by how much chocolate I had, just imagining myself gluttonously eating it all within a few days span, so instead I gave it to my roommate to enjoy while studying for her exams, and let me tell you, she made that chocolate last A LOT longer than I'm probably physically capable of doing. She greatly appreciated it and enjoyed it for weeks, and again that made all the difference.

Unfortunately, as a result of practicing fasting since my childhood, I am so accustomed to it that I enjoy fasting food, so fasting doesn't really push my self-control limits. Attempting to avoid my usual hypocrisy, as I craved homemade fries and sweet potato fries for dinner, I decided to make them, but for my roommate whom I knew would enjoy them. I ate a few, told her I was full, and asked her to finish them.

Am I cheating by vicariously fulfilling my cravings? It seems too good to be true, but it's working...

He is mistaken who thinks that the fast consists only in abstinence from food. True fasting is departing from evil. - St. John Chrysostom

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