26 Oct Nirahara Samyama During Navaratri
Nirahara Samyama is not like ordinary fasting in that it is a deep spiritual process which awakens extraordinary capabilities to survive without solid food, without any hunger or bad effects on health. It is a way to move towards expansion and burn limiting patterns which cause diseases, pain and unhappiness. Food is deeply connected to our experience of life overall, and not just as a source of nutrition. Eating is an important part of our lives, much more than we sometimes realize. Nirahara Samyama removes some of those patterns which are intertwined with patterns of eating.
When I started out with the Nirahara Samyama this time, I first sought blessings of my Guru, and set the sankalpa is improving my health and freedom from patterns that cause my health to go bad.
Normally, when I am hungry for long hours, and it happens often when I am working at a stretch on something important, I tend to get a bit restless and lose focus. I am easily distracted and generally a bit wired, but not in a good way. I don’t usually “suffer” when I am hungry, partly because I have done Nirahara & Monday fasting (during Shravan) many times before so the pain or irascibility associated with hunger has lessened a lot, but it still does make me restless and not able to sit with myself or focus on my work at all. Reading is out of the question.
Also, every time I did Nirahara before, I went through huge mood swings, anger, frustration, low mood, and general unwillingness to do anything. I would have cravings for days on end and sometimes I would buckle after a few days, giving into the cravings, and then feel bad later because cravings are like that—as long as you think you can’t have something you keep craving it but when you do have it, it doesn’t feel as special or fulfilling as you thought it would be or should be. It is literally just a fantasy or delusion associated with a certain object. The same kind of cravings often exist in people with other things, which is sort of like an addiction—shopping, eating sweets, being infatuated with a person, wanting money, wanting attention, wanting societal respect—on some level, these are all types of cravings and addictions. They exist but they don’t serve any purpose to make you feel fulfilled. They can only make you feel less, empty, incomplete, lacking. When you have a genuine desire, you feel fulfilled and complete when it is fulfilled. Cravings only make you feel underwhelmed when they are fulfilled. That is the key difference.
On day one, I was a bit delayed in doing my Banyan tree Dhyana, which is a part of the Nirahara Samyama, in which your bio-memory, literally your DNA, is awakened to its own possibility of surviving without solid food and taking praana, or life energy, from the air and sunlight alone, like plants. It also coincided with the beginning phase of the Mercury retrograde so I was in the middle of a few failed transactions, other wiring and communication breakdown etc. So on day one, everyone got a little bit of firing. Anyone who gave me shit, got shit. Even my little cat got a nice scolding for jumping on my laptop and closing all my browser tabs with one paw stroke, when I was trying to get work done. But that was just day 1. It takes a little bit of patience and time to switch your body from its usual way of working to this different mode of working. That switch really only happens when I do the Banyan tree dhyana. Else you are just fasting, not doing Nirahara Samyama and the usual effects of fasting apply. Also, it takes a little bit of estimation initially to understand how much and at what frequency you need to consume liquids to keep your body comfortable. I was not taking in enough fluids on day 1.
But after day 2, it was a breeze. And I am not just saying that. Only once I felt some craving, in eight days, and that too simply because some tempting pictures of food came up on my instagram. This is why Instagram is bad! But I mastered myself and told myself that if I am not kidding myself and want to live up to the name of Parantapah, I need to go beyond my senses and sense perceptions. So I just set down NO as the response my body is supposed to have. And I was fine. I just decided that I will eat when the Navaratri is over. I was fine in half an hour. The craving had passed on. It is like a fever. It goes away.
But the deepest difference I saw was that I was able to sit comfortably for the whole day, uninterrupted, working with full concentration. That is rare even on normal days, leave alone fasting days. I was, after a long time, able to just sit for long hours (I have pain so I am not able to sit in one place at a stretch many times). My pain had considerably lessened. Before the Nirahara, I was waking up with a headache every day for almost a week. It took my almost 4 hours to just get to a point where I could be functional, when the pain had lessened. I also, ofcourse, somehow motivated myself to just take my Vitamins and my ayurvedic medicine every day, even if it has no measurable effect. I wanted to just be integrated to it and do it consistently. I had not been doing it till now. I could somehow find the motivation to get into that mode now.
At the end of the Nirahara of eight days, on ninth day, I could feel a huge difference. I was happier. Every single day, during the Banyan tree dhyana, I completed with whatever was bringing me down or making me feel unhappy. I just connected with Swamiji in the space of Oneness, and asked Him to take it all away for good. He always listens when you ask him from a space of sincerity and want to move towards completion. He always grants your wish if you want to be complete. I felt a certain lightness in my being. Well, I really don’t have any excess weight to lose. But I experienced levitation due to Kundalini awakening every day during Banyan tree dhyana and felt generally blissful and happy.
Now, I see food as an option. I can eat if I want, and if I don’t want, I can just continue with the Nirahara for as long as I like. The Banyan tree dhyana is not some “meditation” or compulsion but the best quality time I spend with myself, in Oneness with Swamiji, and where the real work happens. Being powerful from inside is really what wins all battles. That is the best gift of Nirahara.
For new people, Nirahara Samyama starts on the 1st of every month, and you must register for it on BFoodFree.