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Fasting, Forbidden Fruit, Forgiveness

another aspect of habits and the unconscious

Fasting, Forbidden Fruit, Forgiveness

Today is about fasting and dreaming.

I've been posting so much of late about creating chosen habits, crowding out habits that don't serve, cultivating practices to enable this, raising our awareness of what we do on autopilot and how to ensure that the "autopilot" habits are the ones that make us who we want to be.

I hope it's clear that I'm making no claim to have it all figured out. I write in a sincere spirit of sharing, my part in a dialogue, my endeavor to help put out the message that we can take steps to influence our own thought patterns.

Here, I take a step further into the unknown, looking at how fasting--largely a physical mechanism --affects the unconscious, as experienced through dreaming.

Last night, I had the forbidden fruit dreams.

After a day's fasting midweek, today I'm on day three of a three-day fast, with the intention of reintroducing liquid foods tomorrow. Leaving aside for the moment the question of whether I should be fasting again/whether someone my size should  fast, it's indisputable that forgoing food for a period of time can be a potent way to contact the subconscious.

It's not just the lack of fuel, the low blood sugar, the reduced physical energy, all of which can contribute to other-worldly feelings. It's also the break from routine and rote--meals constitute something regular in a day, so taking them out destructures the time, allowing other things to surface.

On days one and two, I didn't actually think about food very much. But last night, I had the forbidden fruit dreams, and this morning I woke up fantasizing about cauliflower (!)

My forbidden fruit were giant red grapes the size of big plums. I ate one or two of them at the urging of the Turkish fruit vendor who had a basket of samples he was giving out. I don't remember how the grapes tasted, only a crushing sense of guilt for eating them, as well as a meta-voice from outside the dream reminding me that I don't eat grapes anymore--together with other high-fructose fruit, I've quit eating them. 

Then an old friend showed up, and I was further mortified because there didn't seem to be any more of the big grapes at the produce stand. To hide my guilt and shame at having had my mouth full (Oh no! Caught eating!) I'd said come look at these giant grapes! Eventually I found them, disguised as plums.

I've heard other people describe outsized fruit or giant slices of cake appearing in their dreams while fasting. Sometimes they even woke up feeling guilty for having broken their fast because they hadn't realized they were dreaming. I knew I was dreaming; I even reprimanded myself because in my waking life I don't eat grapes anymore.  But aside from the guilt around the actual eating, there was more.

I have been a grape thief. Guilty as I feel about eating, I also have a Mother-Earth-sized guilt about waste of food (silly me, right, that's what compost's for!) and have been persuaded to eat, sometimes too much, by being told something will go to waste otherwise.  

Likewise, when going to supermarkets or produce stands while literally starving, I've picked up and eaten the grapes that had fallen from the bunches and would be tossed away anyway. I was rescuing them, and myself. Sometimes there would be just one or two, sometimes handfuls. 

I don't do that anymore. But apparently my unconscious still feels guilty about it.

I love the work of Bruce Lipton, particularly how he shows that when you know how to change the channel,  you don't have to relive all the old trauma and misery. In fact, reliving it can re-dig the channel, can make it more painful. But clarity is a wonderful thing.

I'm perfectly happy with my conscious self, where I put down the "grape-rescuing" habit some time ago and it barely even crosses my mind when I'm at the store/market. It's gone, it's not in my life. But then why is it still in my unconscious?

Perhaps it's telling me that although I've moved away from the behavior, the guilt I caused myself is still unresolved. Or is it significant that this came up in the context of fasting, starvation-like? Perhaps my physical condition mimics more closely the deranged condition of my grape-rescuer self?

I don't have the answer. Only questions, and the beauty of the redirect. For a wonderful synchronicity, this morning I opened Prayers of the Cosmos: Meditations on the Aramaic Words of Jesus at random, and I opened to "forgive our debts, as we forgive our debtors." In the commentary, Douglas-Klotz states that the word "debt" carries connotations of stolen fruit!

I'm curious how this story seems to an outsider. And I'm eager to teach my subconscious how to forgive.

About the Author

Ela Harrison

Ela is a wordsmith and herb lover who has lived in many places and currently resides in Tucson, AZ.

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