Oct 27 2009

Transforming Anger – The Spiritual Thief

In looking back at my experience with fasting during the month of Ramadan the thing that I struggled with most was Anger. It is a nagging shrew who was constantly tickling that back of my neck with her hot breath.

Often I find that awareness of the problem I am facing helps transform the issue. And in the past this has helped, particularly in the fasting context where physiological processes are enhancing negative emotional states, like anger. I have reminded myself that transforming anger is one of the lures of fasting as a spiritual practice. But this time it didn’t work. Sometimes, you emerge from a spiritual exercise with a different than intended experience. That was my fasting experience. And I kept wondering why I was doing it at all. I mean what is it worth if all I do is get grouchy and upset.

I think I have my own answer. That is even after all these years of fasting, I still find it challenging. The fact of its difficulty reminds me that the goal is not to have an easy time while fasting. Perhaps this was the best fast I have had in years because it was so tough. Fasting was worth the pursuit even if I didn’t like the outcome is not a reason to give up the exercise. I will repeat it again.

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