TOPICS: Do not seek to fast for 40 days without any food – deeper meaning behind Jesus’ life – Jesus withdrew from the mass consciousness – fasting is not necessarily related to food – fasting through your attention – emptying your mind – suffering does not compensate for sins – focus on your Presence instead of your body – 40 is not an exact number – fasting can block a spiritual experience – false spiritual experiences – fasting as an ego game – strive for balance – fasting from information pollution –
Question: Beloved Jesus, what would you say about fasting (in a sense of totally abstaining from food) as a way to accelerate one’s spiritual growth? The idea to pass through the 40 day fasting (while totally abstaining from food) – as you did when you were in the desert, and as other spiritual seekers, ascetics and hermits did – inspires me a lot. So the question is: can it give some benefit or harm? And how one could abstain from food without harming himself?
Answer from ascended master Jesus through Kim Michaels: (May 26, 2011)
I strongly discourage anyone from trying to go for 40 days while totally abstaining from food. There is simply no way to do this without harming your body, and there is not spiritual benefit from doing so.
It is a misunderstanding that I spent 40 days in the desert without eating anything. You can take two basic approaches to any aspect of my life. One is the literal approach, where you think the Bible is the literal word of God, and thus anything mentioned in the scriptures happened exactly as described. Through this approach, you will never understand the true meaning of my teachings and example. The other approach is to realize that even so-called actual events from the scriptures have a deeper meaning—and thus you must always look beyond the literal interpretation. So what is the deeper meaning of me spending 40 days in the wilderness?
You might see this in terms of the contrast between two environments. You have human society, an environment in which most everything is controlled by man-made rules and ideas. Then you have the “wilderness,” an environment in which things are not controlled by man but are closer to a natural state. So the symbolism is that I withdrew for a time from the world of man-made rules, doctrines, beliefs and ideas. Yet doing this does not necessarily mean going out in nature. You can do this almost anywhere, as long as you can be in a quiet space and turn down outside distractions. You can even do it in the middle of a city, although it is a bit more difficult because of the more intense mass consciousness.
Fasting does not necessarily have anything to do with food. I “fasted” by emptying my mind from man-made ideas, thereby creating an empty space that made my mind open to intuitive impressions from a higher source, namely my I Will Be Presence and my spiritual teachers.
Do you see my point? What is the purpose for which you want to fast? If it is to gain a more spiritual state of consciousness, then it is not necessary to abstain from food. It is necessary to abstain from certain types of heavier food, such as meat, and to abstain from eating too much food. However, it is not necessary to abstain from all food, and it can indeed be counterproductive to do so.
What will it take for you to have a more spiritual experience? Everything in your life revolves around your attention. If your attention is on worldly affairs, it is more difficult to have a spiritual experience. So in order to get a higher experience, you need to take your attention away from worldly affairs, including the physical body.
Yet the simple fact is that abstaining from food is not the best way to take your attention away from the body. Most people who fast by totally abstaining from food find this to be such a difficult experience, that they end up putting more and more attention on the body the longer they fast. So the true meaning of fasting is to take your attention away from worldly matters and focus it on spiritual matters. Yet even this must be understood more deeply. For there are many people who think that focusing on spiritual matters means studying a spiritual teaching with the intellect or practicing a spiritual technique.
This is not necessarily invalid at a certain level of the path, but when you come to the higher levels, “fasting” truly means to empty your mind of everything and attuning it to your Presence. Fasting means focusing on experiencing pure awareness, so you truly become the open door for the Presence. Meaning you have no preconceived opinions that color the impressions from the Presence. You cannot do this at the lower levels of the path, but at higher levels this is your main goal.
What has happened over the centuries is two things. First of all, Christianity was hijacked by literalists, who thought everything should be interpreted literally—according to their definition of a literal interpretation. Secondly, during the Middle Ages, Christianity became hijacked by people who focused on life as suffering.
You will see that in most art from that period, I am depicted as hanging on the cross, suffering greatly. So instead of focusing on my positive teaching – that I came to give all people life and that more abundantly – Christianity became focused on the few hours I suffered on the cross. And then came the belief that it was my suffering on the cross that “bought” humankind’s salvation by somehow compensating for people’s sins.
You will easily see that this was influenced by the age-old belief that sacrificing an animal – by bleeding it to death – could pay for one’s sins. A belief that was in complete opposition to my true teaching, but which nevertheless came to dominate the view of my mission. As a result, it came to be believed that God – who was seen as good – required that you suffer before you could be free from sin. The insanity of this belief can be seen by considering the following. You have done something that caused suffering to another human being. You acknowledge this, and now you voluntarily put yourself through a process that causes suffering to yourself, thinking this second suffering will somehow compensate for the first suffering.
Yet in today’s world, you know that everything is energy. What you did to another, created a certain amount of misqualified energy. When you cause yourself to suffer, you create even more misqualified energy. Two wrongs do not make a right, because misqualified energy cannot eliminate misqualified energy. The only way to compensate for one’s sins is to produce positive energy, which can indeed transform the misqualified. Yet it can only do so if both sides have truly forgiven, which is why I emphasized forgiving all who have harmed you.
So my point is that over the centuries, the focus on suffering caused people to think that since abstaining from food causes you to suffer, this was a way to pay for your sins. And thus, has come the added belief that the more you suffer, the more you pay back sins. And this was then tied in with the idea that I fasted for 40 days, and some people then came to see this as the ultimate form of suffering through fasting. Some have even thought that if they died trying to fast for 40 days, they would surely be rewarded in heaven. They thought, “I will not surely die.”
Do you see that this is a complete misunderstanding? First of all, trying to abstain from all food for 40 days would kill many people, and suicide is not the way to a higher state of consciousness. Secondly, those who can survive fasting for that long, will end up focusing most of their attention on the pains of the body, which takes your attention away from being the open door for the Presence. So what is gained by this? And thirdly, deliberately causing yourself to suffer will produce misqualified energy that will not help your spiritual growth.
Concerning the 40 days, it should be considered that 2,000 years ago, people did not conceive of numbers the same way you do today. In today’s world, most schoolchildren understand that you can count to very high numbers. How many of you tried to count to one thousand when you were children? Yet 2,000 years ago, most adults could not count to one thousand, let alone conceive of this number. So back then, people simply could not conceive of the kind of numbers you today use to calculate the national debt. And even today, you will see that people have trouble visualizing how much money a country like the United States actually owes—it is simply too big to relate to anything in “real life.”
You may have heard that animals cannot count any higher than two. The same goes for some native peoples, who distinguish between one and two, but anything above two is seen as “many.” Well, there was a somewhat similar mechanism at play 2,000 years ago. People could count to a dozen, but anything above that was seen as “many.” The words used for that has since then been translated to the western “score,” but even the word “score” was originally used about an indeterminate amount and it was only in more modern times that a precise number was attached to it.
So when the Bible says that I fasted for 40 days, the actual number was not 40. It was simply a “large” number of days I spent in the wilderness. And here is another point. I went into the wilderness – and I did actually go away from human settlements – in order to have a spiritual experience, and I stayed only long enough to have that experience. During that time, I ate whatever food I could find, so as to keep my body just comfortable enough that I did not have to put my attention on the body, but could keep my attention free from outer distractions to focus within.
So if you try to imitate this by forcing yourself to fast for 40 days, you will actually put yourself in a frame of mind, that will make it more difficult for you to have a true spiritual experience. Because you will not simply be open to letting the experience happen at its own pace—you will be seeking to force it. And what you seek to force, you will be pushing ahead of you, as the donkey pushing the carrot hanging from a stick in front of its nose.
Any time – and I mean ANY time – you seek to force a spiritual experience, you will not have a true experience. Instead, you will open yourself up to lower forces, who can indeed give you an experience that is far beyond your ordinary state of consciousness, but it is not a true spiritual experience because it does not make you the open door for your Presence or ascended beings. Over the centuries, many people have attempted to take heaven by force and have opened themselves up to lower forces, thinking they had had a genuine spiritual experience. That is why fasting should not be attempted by people who are not balanced and who do not have both personal protection and spiritual discernment (discernment of spirits).
Do you see that fasting can very easily become an ego game? The ego wants to do something extreme, because it either wants to set itself apart from others, or it even thinks this will earn it points in the eyes of God.
So, in conclusion, the way to fast is to take your attention away from whatever draws it outwards. You need to empty your mind so you can be an open door for the Presence.
The only way to do this is to approach fasting the same way as you approach everything else on the path: through always striving for balance. This is simply the only way for you to pass the initiation of encountering the tempter, as you will do whenever you rise to a higher level of consciousness, and as you saw that I was tempted by the devil after my however many days in the wilderness.
You also need to see that it is not constructive to take what I am saying here as a reason to withdraw from society and isolate yourself. It is valid to withdraw for a time in order to establish your inner connection to your Presence. Yet once you begin to have this connection, you can now get involved in society without losing it. And in the Golden Age, we need people who can be involved with society while being the open doors for ideas from the ascended realm.
In today’s age, I would say that the most important way to fast is NOT by abstaining from food. The best way to fast is to eat enough to keep your body a non-issue and then keep your mind away from all of the “information pollution” with which modern people are bombarded. It is not the physical body that is the greatest hindrance for modern people; it is the fact that your minds are overstimulated by the information that comes at you from so many sources.
So the best way to fast is to turn off this stream of external information. And then turn off the internal bombardment, caused by the mind creating problems and then trying to convince you that you have to solve them. It is all a matter of monitoring where your attention goes. The kingdom of God is within you, so you will not enter it as long as your attention is constantly focused outside the point of stillness within you.
So try fasting from “information food” for a while. The good news is that abstaining from keeping up with what your friends are doing on Facebook won’t kill you—even after 40 days.
Copyright © 2011 by Kim Michaels