Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Fasting--Days 2, 3, and 4
Saint Syncletica of Alexandria, The First Desert Mother
The Feast Day of Saint Syncletica of Alexandria is celebrated today (January 5). She was a remarkable woman who died at the age of 84 in 350 A.D. She was born to wealthy parents, but decided at an early age that she wanted to dedicate her life to God. She refused to marry, despite many eager suitors, and when her parents died she distributed their entire estate (her inheritance) to the poor. She then left the world to live a life of prayer, fasting, and asceticism as a nun in the desert. Her accomplishments in the spiritual life eventually became widely known and many women began to seek her out for help. She is believed to have founded the very first ever monastery for women. Here are some of the best sayings attributed to her:
"Those who do not fast often fall into real sicknesses."
"Just as one cannot build a ship unless one has some nails, so it is impossible to be saved without humility."
"Choose the meekness of Moses and you will find your heart which is a rock changed into a spring of water."
"It is possible to be a solitary in one's mind while living in a crowd, and it is possible for one who is a solitary to live in the crowd of his own thoughts."
"In the beginning there is struggle and a lot of work for those who come near to God. But after that there is indescribable joy. It is just like building a fire: at first it is smoky and your eyes water, but later you get the desired result. Thus we ought to light the divine fire in ourselves with tears and effort."
"We should laud remiss and indolent souls who are easily exhausted in the struggle for good, as well as those souls who are easily discouraged and fall to despair. Indeed if such souls display even the smallest good deed, we must praise it and marvel at it, giving them encouragement in their struggle for the good."
"If you have begun to act well, do not turn back through constraint of the enemy, for through your endurance, the enemy is destroyed. Those who put out to sea at first sail with a favorable wind; then the sails spread, but later the winds become adverse. Then the ship is tossed by the waves and is no longer controlled by the rudder. But when in a little while there is a calm, and the tempest dies down, then the ship sails on again. So it is with us, when we are driven by the spirits who are against us; we hold to the cross as our sail and so we can set a safe course."
Days 2 & 3 of my fast were still fairly uneventful except for some mid-level nausea during the first 2 hours in the morning after awaking. I had quite a lot to do in preparation for my 2 month absence from home and I was able to accomplish everything, though I am sure the exertion wasn't the best for me. I did have a normal bowel movement on the morning of Day 2, but no bowel activity on Day 3. I drank about 2 quarts of water each day.
I arrived at the TrueNorth Health Center around 5:00 PM last night (Day 3) and was greeted by a very attentive staff. I was shown to my room and by 7:00 PM an intern (a female medical doctor who has a practice in Washington state) came by to check on me and take my vital signs. Last night my blood pressure was 104/59, my pulse was 70, my tempurature was 98.4, and my weight was 110. I fell asleep about 11:45 PM and woke up at 3:45 AM to urinate and was unable to go back to sleep for a long, long time. i may have slept another 2 hours somewhat fitfully. I also had a mid-range headache (4 on a scale of 1-10) in the right front quadrant of my head (perhaps sinus area) all night.
Dr. Klaper and his assistant came to check on me at 9:00 AM and get my vital signs this morning (Day 4). He checks all of his patients between 7:30-9:30 AM and he is all about business--in and out. My blood pressure was 96/58, my pulse was 68, my tempurature was 98.1, and my weight was 107 (3 lbs difference from last night!). They also checked my urine with a dipstick, though I am not sure what they were measuring. I have been slightly nauseated all day, and feel incredibly weak. I am very hypotensive when I stand up. It is even difficult for me to sit up in bed. I had some upper and lower GI gas today, but not much. No bowel activity. My body odor is also very strong. I drank about 2.5 quarts of water today.
I had another 40 minute appointment with Dr. Klaper this evening. Again, he asked a lot of questions and really listened to my responses. I have had most of my test results come back. The level of Lactulose in my urine was slightly above normal which indicates some gastrointestinal permiability. Not surprising, but Dr. Klaper expected it to be worse given my symptoms. Most of my blood work came out normal. My cholesterol was 120 (HDL 29/LDL 77/VLDL 14). HDL is considered to be low (>46 is recommended), but Dr. Klaper says it is just fine because total cholesterol is so low. Cholesterol/HDL ratio was 4.1 (below average risk) and the LDL/HDL ratio was 2.6 (average risk). Triglycerides were 68. My BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen) was one point below normal at 6 on a scale of 7-25. Dr. Klaper says this is great and normal for someone on a low protein diet. My B-12 is on the very low end of normal at 248 on a scale of 200-1100. MVC was high 101 on scale of 80-100 and MHC was high at 33.6 on a scale of 27.0-33.0. Both of these are an indication of low B-12. Dr. Klaper wants me to start taking B-12 right away. Vitamin D is not back yet. C-Reactive Protein is not back yet. Parasite test is not back yet. Everything else is normal, including Sedimentation Rate and a Thyroid Panel.
Dr. Klaper was very please with the test results and said my organ systems are functioning extremely well. He gave his permission for me to do a fast of 40 or so days, with the caveat that we must always listen to the patient's body. We talked a lot about my food problems as might be expected and so I finally asked him what he ate. He said he eats mostly raw fruit and greens, but he is not dogmatic and eats some light cooked foods like soup and steamed vegetables. He does not think grains are particularly healthy and has stopped eating them, and he doesn't eat many of the other cooked starches either because they leave him feeling too heavy. He seems to have a very open mind.
They have there own distiller here, and the water is quite good. I don't think I have ever had real distilled water, only the stuff from the supermarket sold in plastic which tastes absolutely terrible. The only complaint I have about this facility so far is that is is located on the corner of two very busy streets, but I knew that coming in. Some units are off the road and much quieter. Since I came in on such short notice, I don't really have much choice. But if you can plan your stay here ahead of time, you can reserve a unit on the two quieter sides. As it is, they are going to have to move me twice while I am here. But that is no big deal since the staff here will do all the work.
My acupuncturist, David Walker of Sebastopol, came and gave me a treatment in the evening and will be coming to do so once a week for the duration of my fast.
Yesterday (January 4) was the birthday of Lowell Fillmore, another spiritual giant in my opinion. He was the son of the founders of the Unity Church which is part of the New Thought Movement that began in the late 1800s (and grew out the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and other Transendentalist thinkers). A good friend introduced me to Unity an number of years ago, but I wasn't quite ready. Now, I am absolutely in love with their teachings (which, interestingly enough, are very very similar to what Abraham teaches, only with a Christ-centered focus). Lowell Fillmore's book The Prayer Way to Health, Wealth, and Happiness may well be the best book on Unity spirituality. I was so inspired by this little volume that I bought it as a Christmas gift for everyone I know this year. And if Unity was in the habit of canonizing saints, Lowell surely would have received this honor. By all accounts, he lived a very abstemious life (eating a vegetarian diet) and apparently never said a bad word about anyone. Here is are some excerpts from his book on healing the body:
"Christian healing means more than patching up a broken body. It means restoring a body to its God-planned perfection--the harmonious manifestation of God's perfect-man idea in a physical body. God's perfect man is Spirit, because God created him in His own image and likeness...This perfect spiritual man is the Christ whose Spirit dwells in potential expression in the physical body of every man...God's perfect-man idea is the pattern that all men must eventually work out in their physical bodies...It is up to each person to cooperate with God's plan, by letting the perfect-man idea, the Christ Spirit within himself, have its perfect way...As we increase our faith in the Christ perfection in us, we cooperate with God to bring more and more of His perfect-man idea into manifestation in our body."
"Affirmations of Truth are statements that describe God's perfect creation. By believing that God's creation is perfect and is the only reality, we can manifest it in our life. By using affirmations of Truth, we increase our faith in God's goodness becoming manifest here and now in our life and affairs. We can affirm the Truth of our relationship to God until we feel it is a reality. We must first accept the truth in our mind, and then we shall be able to cooperate with the divine wisdom and life that are already at work in us to bring peace, health, and happiness into our body and affairs. By faithful use of affirmations of Truth, we can lift our body into a consciousness of greater harmony with its spiritual Source. Try using this affirmation: By the healing power of my indwelling Christ, I am made whole and perfect in body and mind. Have faith that these words are true, because you are speaking the truth about God's perfect man."
"We must train ourselves to have faith in our indwelling Christ, who is whole and perfect. We must have faith in God's perfect, spiritual, everywhere-present creation, even though we cannot see it with our own physical eyes. We must learn to look for good everywhere and thus open the way for God's spiritual perfection to come into our world as it is in His heaven...Affirmative prayer is our first step in seeking God and His kingdom...As we grow spiritually by increasing our love and faith in God [with affirmations of Truth], we shall be able to find his blessings everywhere. We shall find that health, happiness, and prosperity are always with us. God is our health; and when we believe this, His healing power will work freely through us."