Why Do I Fast by Baro Shalizi

Like other of Baro’s friends, I’ve asked him about Ramazan (Ramadan). I’m delighted he has written about this in a way that will enlighten readers.


Why do I fast?

It is a question many of my friends ask. I have been in the habit of fasting since I was quite young, perhaps eleven or twelve years old. I have always found fasting to be soothing, calming, almost meditative. As I grew older, I found it to bring about a spiritual awakening, a closeness to my maker, a way of removing myself from the franticness of daily life—I didn’t have to plan for meals, call friends or clients for a cup of coffee or tea. It also made me more generous towards those who had less and didn’t get three square meals a day. Through fasting, at least on a physical level I understood their suffering. I cannot even imagine what the psychological and emotional suffering must be. It is one thing to voluntarily fast and quite another to fast from lack of choice, lack of food.
As a youngster, I fasted a couple of days a year. After all, it isn’t proscribed until after puberty. As I grew older, I fasted the full 30 days required, not eating or even taking a sip of water from dawn to dusk. Having seen the benefits of fasting, now, in addition to the month of fasting, from time to time, I fast for a couple of days or a week at other times of the year. I have often wondered if like Biblical King David, I could live my life by fasting alternate days?