This weekend I am preparing to go on a solo vision quest. Well at least my version of it. Vision quests more specifically relate to Native American rites of passage. Vision Fast is a more appropriate name to use to differentiate between the two and out of respect to the indigenous culture and ceremonial practices. Retreat in nature, 72hr fast, whatever you call it, it is less about the name and more about the intention.
“Sorry, what are you doing?”
In short, I will retreat into nature with little more than water, my hammock and my journal for 72hrs.
“And why are you doing this?”
The answer to most things could be “Why not?” or “because I can”.
But my main reasons for it are that I am currently undertaking my yoga teaching training qualification. We are writing an essay of our choice and I wish to explore the effects of fasting and retreat on spiritual practice. This is not a new concept, fasting and retreat feature in many religions and traditions throughout time. I want to investigate areas of pain/discomfort, attachment, intention, absence/abundance, sympathy/empathy, gratitude/gratification, sensory deprivation, inward reflection and connection. It is a balance of yin in a very yang world. And as well as providing me with primary research for my essay, it is essentially an experiment on my “journey of self”.
Some people think it sounds crazy. But when you think about it, many people spend an entire weekend drinking and eating crap food. How is that any less crazy? It’s probably more crazy in fact, we’ve just accepted it as the norm. Just another example of social conditioning/programming. But there are no rules to life. We don’t have to all fit in the same box. I’m daring to step out of the box and my comfort zone. I want to figure my own life out, for myself.
Also, I studied a degree in nutrition and the scientist in me is interested in the health effects of fasting and potential benefits to the immune system. In my studies we looked a lot at food and it’s symbolism, it’s part in religion and culture, status, emotion but never the withdrawal of food.
I literally have no idea how I will react or what will come up, whether I will last the whole 72hrs or anything. It might be the best experience of my life, maybe the worst or perhaps just a neutral. But I’m curious. And that is good enough for me. Stay tuned for part 2 to see how it went.