Spring is upon us and to prepare I am participating in the Baha'i 19-day fast. Many traditions and religions have prescribed fasting during the spring to renew the spirit for the coming year. There's more and more science to support how fasting heals the body. Baha'is, like Muslims during Ramadan, refrain from all food and drink during the fast. While the scientific data on effect of dry fasting is limited the idea is that fasting “resets” the immune system by removing damaged cells, allowing the body to regenerate new ones. In general moderate fasting is an anti-aging practice that protects the immune system and promotes healing, cellular regeneration, and weight loss.
To enter into the fasting season with a spirit of service we volunteered with Homies Empowerment in Oakland. Homies Empowerment is a youth program founded to eliminate violence in East Oakland. During the pandemic they began feeding their neighbors and giving meals, clothes and support to unhoused communities. We had the privilege of walking through encampments with Reverend Harry who called out to people sleeping their vehicles and shelters, "Loved ones! Family! We have food! Beloved! We brought lunch!" reminding us that the people living in these terrible conditions are our beloved human family members, pictured below.
During the season of fasting we refrain from the daily impulses and attachments and expand our capacity to consider the welfare of others. Baha'ullah says,
"O YE RICH ONES ON EARTH
The poor in your midst are my trust. Guard ye my trust and be not intent on your own ease."
Here's to your health! May your journey toward wellness be grounded in universal love.