Why We Should Practice

Why We Should Practice "Fasting of the Heart"

If you could go back a couple of thousands of years and talk to the ancient Daoist sage, Lao Tzu, what would he have said about the modern predicament? 

More than likely, he would have told you to practice something called “the fasting of the heart.” 

But what the heck is that? 

In ancient times, many people believed that the mind was located where we think of the heart today. It was here that you could actually “find” the person if you went looking for them. 

So the fasting of the heart would more accurately translate today as “the quieting of the mind.”

And if there’s one thing we all need, that’s certainly it!

If you’ve ever observed your thoughts, you’ll know how rare it is to experience a break in thinking. One thought pops up after another in a stream that never seems to end. But this way of thinking isn’t ideal and could even be a bad thing. 

The ancient sages, like Lao Tzu, saw that they could separate the mind into different parts and practice thinking less.

For instance, Lao Tzu writes in the Dao De Jing, “the man of the world adds something to his life every day. The man of the dao takes something away.”

What he meant by this was that the person who achieves lasting wellness seeks to simplify their lives and minds. They don’t endlessly entertain their thoughts - whatever they may be. Instead, they try to reduce them to a minimum. 

What Does This Have To Do With Wellness? From a Western perspective, the idea that you might reduce the amount of thinking you do seems a little odd. Our culture and economy depend entirely on people using their minds’ rational, cognitive parts. 

But the ancient sages understood that overactive, intellectual styles of thinking were actually problematic. They prevent people from getting in touch with their true nature. Their words and mental constructs were a kind of barrier between them and oneness with the universe.

Today, all sorts of brands, like Bay Smokes, are trying to bring back this type of thinking into regular people’s lives. But in the West, we have had a specific type of analytical consciousness for so long that it’s hard for anyone to break out of it. The only real option is to turn east for enlightenment. 

In 2021, we need to practice fasting of the heart (or thinking less) more than ever. We live in an information-saturated culture. And far from enhancing our wellbeing, it is actually detracting from it, leading to all sorts of mental health issues for people. 

Being quiet and content within oneself is really the only way forward for everyone. We can’t all be millionaires, spending vast fortunes every year. The planet can’t support it. So we need a new way to find satisfaction in our lives. And that requires doing something we haven’t done as a culture for a long time: going inside ourselves, becoming quiet, and experiencing the true nature of being. 

*This is a sponsored post