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Sunday June 29, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Sunday June 29, 2014 MYT 11:26:52 AM
by t. selva
IT is that time of the year when I’m reminded to pause and reflect on life, with the start of the fasting month.
As my Muslim friends observe Ramadan with prayers and abstaining from eating and drinking after sunrise until sunset, I view the holy month with reverence.
The art of reflection is vital for our busy lifestyle because it allows every individual to make an audit of one’s qualities, feelings and thoughts.
Everyone should develop this system at some point of time in a year or you can end up worrying about the future, regretting the past and not living in the present.
Since ancient times, intuitive reflection has been practised in almost all faiths because it holds the secret to harmonious and balanced living.
It is the key activity to ease our body, mind and spirit, and provide the individual with a chance to make positive changes and decisions.
In short, it is a profound way to achieve and enjoy good physical and mental health and spiritual accord.
Abstaining from food for a specific period places both our mind and body in an excellent state of wellbeing.
Starting today and over the next one month, I will be observing my own method to take stock of my life by skipping at least one meal a day and consuming less food; I will also fast mentally, through silence.
Fasting is an ancient practice that allows us to cleanse the body and reinforce the mind to refuse the overwhelming compulsion to eat.
Animals, which depend only upon nature, fast spontaneously if there is any disease, and cure themselves by natural means – that is, via sunlight and fresh air, fast and rest.
I had an opportunity to stay in and learn the art of happy living under the 14th Dalai Lama in his monastery in Dharamshala in India a few years ago where he gave a discourse on fasting.
According to the spiritual leader, both fast and feast are blessings to human beings; however, a spread gives a person an immediate blessing which vanishes in a few hours, invoking a craving for more; whereas a fast gives us a different kind of happiness more lasting than that of a feast.
The act of refraining from food provides a continuous flow of contentment, which brings cheerfulness to the body and a sense of fulfilment that remains in our life system.
There are several methods of fasting and the ultimate objective of each is to attain reflection and realisation.
Some avoid all food and water; others take only water or juice; some abstain from heavy foods like meat or grains. There are people who observe half-day fasts, or cut out salt completely.
Hindus observe certain days of the week, month or even year to fast, and many fast at least twice a month on the 11th day of the waning and waxing moon as it is regarded as beneficial.
The practice most commonly followed by the Hindus is to skip one meal, normally breakfast, on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Why? Tuesday is ruled by Mars and Friday by Venus, and both the planets are known to exert aggressive influence on humans.
Eating less, particularly on two days every week, helps people avoid indigestion and getting into hostile moods.
Different communities have different variations in fasting suited to their belief and religious system but in general, it is good to give our stomach a holiday every once in a while.
Besides giving a rest to the overworked digestive organs, we should also fast our mind through silence, which can help heal and rejuvenate the body.
The exercise of silence offers us a channel to flush out our negative thoughts and allows the mind to absorb fresh input.
Hindus observe silence twice a month, during the waxing and waning of the moon because the moon is supposed to influence the mind.
Such practices are regarded as favourable and are followed from 6am to 6pm; some people who observe this do not consume food or drink during the period.
I learnt the power of silence from the silent guru Mother Meera from Germany, who says the most powerful transmission of divine energy and experience comes when the mind is quiet.
The absence of sound prevents our body and mind from being overworked and taking a vow of silence provides rest and restores our body.
In fact, I’m in Sydney today to receive Mother Meera’s grace of silence as she is on a tour of Australia to promote her sight and silent therapy.
VASTHU SASTRA TALK
T. Selva will present a talk on how to choose an auspicious property and energise a house using pyramids at The Star Property Fair on July 26 at 2pm at G Hotel, Jalan Gurney, Penang. A similar session will be held on July 27 at 11.30am at the same venue. Admission to both talks is free; to register, call 012-329 9713.
T. Selva, senior consulting editor at The Star, is the first disciple of 7th-generation Vasthu Sastra master Yuvaraj Sowma from Chennai, India. This column appears on the last Sunday of every month.
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T. Selva is the author of the Vasthu Sastra Guide and the first disciple of 7th generation Vasthu Sastra master Yuvaraj Sowma from Chennai, India.
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