I used to follow ekadasi many years ago. I always dreaded it, knowing it would be a day I was working while being hungry, having a splitting headache, being cold, tired and fantasizing on all I couldn’t eat. Who wants that?
Not surprisingly I haven’t followed ekadasi for years. So I don’t know why I suddenly thought that I should try it again, but it might be because I had some of what I could eat already thought of. So this time I went into it not really thinking much of it. Relaxed.
I ended up only eating breakfast and dinner, and was satisfied with that. I had a headache from the morning until I couldn’t get to sleep because of the headache. Still, I was fine. A little headache is only a minor inconvenience and I can still function as before.
I wasn’t hungry, but more importantly, no day dreaming on what I couldn’t do. I was content. The next day came and I checked when to break the fast, it was too early so I waited. No big deal.
Except – the whole experience was a big deal to me. From really struggling with ekadasi, I suddenly had no problems whatsoever. This was effortless. The mind gave me no troubles whatsoever. Though, the mind is a different entity now from when I followed ekadasi years ago.
So again, this shows progress to me. An unexpected progress that I hadn’t really been aware of, but it’s still huge. It’s huge because for the first time, the tongue gave me no troubles, the mind gave me no troubles and the body is just not used to fasting. How wonderfully exciting!
Usually I can only spot progress when I think a year back in time etc. but this time it came forward differently. And with my eating habits as well, which is something I have been wanting for so long. I will see if this is something that sticks, but experience is that when things is effortless it usually fixes itself.
What made this time different? Usually I have been a stickler for following rules, but now I don’t care much for them. I have always looked a bit askance at the rules enforced at purebhakti.com. I understand grains, but why broccoli, cauliflower, leafy greens etc? What is the real purpose behind them?
I kind of get the feeling it’s just so strict to force us westerners to stay off the food and dedicate the day to bhajana. Though me thinking like this might be against Gurudevas instructions, so I become a bit apprehensive. But really, is there a purpose against tomatoes, broccoli etc? I mean, look at the length of the list of what you can’t eat. Then look at the length of what you can eat. When I see something like that I automatically think this is just ridiculous and a distraction from what the heart of the matter is.
Ekadasi is for bhajana and the fasting is a vehicle to progress spiritually.
Ideally, I would only drink water and may be some fruits, but my body and mind is just not ready for that. Give it time and practice and this will change.
What do you think about the ekadasi fasting rules? What should be permitted for somebody who isn’t able to follow the strictest regime (and what should be the strictest)?