On what I learned from fasting

  1. Removing the inessentials is not a form of punishment; it is an act of joy.
  2. “He who knows that he has enough–is rich” (Tao te Ching).
  3. “The highest goodness is like water” (Peter France, Hermits: The Insights of Solitude).
  4. My defects have been pride and prejudice. I grew up with an overvaluation of my own self-worth and with an undervaluation of the worth of others. Then I felt shame and a sense of injustice. These–admonitions–have shown me the way forward.
  5. “The monk’s fast dries up the stream of voluptuousness” (France, p. 35).
  6. “Abbas Macarins used to say that a bad word will make even a good person bad, but a good word will make even a bad person good” (Anecdote in France, p. 29).
  7. The corridors of the past are wider than we think. On Monday, I dwelt in the walking memory of my childhood home for all eternity.
  8. A tree shimmering in the wind is too much to take in. To do it justice, one must adopt a new way of seeing.
  9. It has been held, not least by me, that self-control is wanting in the present age. This is no doubt true, but it is also untrue. It is untrue because one thinks nothing of self-control when the environment in which self-control had mattered has changed. I thought nothing of checking my email or of fulfilling my worldly affairs when I existed in the physical/supra-physical space of the sanctuary. The lesson is that self-control is not a question when one’s environment is conducive to something higher.
  10. Practical affairs do come calling: sometimes in the guise of a UPS man ringing the doorbell with a sidelong glance.