Do you need to be religious to fast?

No, although a lot of religious people do fast.

I’m not religious, nor do I come from a religious family. I attended Sunday school when I was a child, then went on to sing in a Cathedral choir for a number of years. My children attend a Catholic school.

So while I say I’m “not religious” on the one hand, I’d say that I’m also quite comfortable and familiar with religion. A lot of people around the world are probably quite similar to me – in that grey area that lists ourselves as “not religious”, yet skirting the sides of the religious community in so many ways.

Fasting is something we see across the world in a lot of the major religions. It’s part of Lent for the Christian world, Buddhists are known to fast regularly, and Jewish people have their days of fasting and feasting. Its been said that fasting is the one thing that most of the major world religions agree on!

However, just because a practice is common in certain religions doesn’t mean you have to be religious to benefit from that practice. If it works, use it! If you want to reconnect with your religious roots, fine, but don’t feel like you have to.

As for me, I didn’t think at first that my fasting had anything to do with my religion, or lack of it. But as I delve more into fasting, and become more proficient at it, I find my mind becoming calmer, and I become happier and more content. I can’t say that I’m feeling the need to go back to church just yet, but I am feeling more at peace with myself. Perhaps you might call it more spiritual (but without the hippie overtones!).

Do what works for you. But don’t think that fasting has to be anything other than a dietary practice for health benefits. What you choose to make of it is entirely up to you. There are no rules. Just be happy, learn more about yourself, and enjoy the journey.

Enjoy the journey…

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