Fasting – a cure for body and soul

At first, fasting was expected to have a healing effect on the body and soul. Fasting was primarily to protect a person from demonic influences. This view has its reason in the view of primitive nations on food intake. People are they fear that they will inject demonic forces into themselves with food.
In antiquity, certain foods are attributed to a special demonic influence. Thus, the Pythagorean believed that man in the flesh of a slaughtered animal received his demonic soul. Therefore, they prohibit the consumption of meat. Other directions see the action of demons only in certain animals. Thus, magicians believe that a demon causing epilepsy lies in a goat’s flesh. And they ban pork because it causes skin diseases and increased sexual potency. (3) However, demons can also act through plants. Thus, the Pythagorean forbid the consumption of beans because the dead souls reside in them and cause us restless, torturous dreams.
One of the reasons for fasting is, therefore, protection against demonic infection. Because one does not want to be sick, he abstains from food in which the demon resides diseases. Because we do not want to be controlled by demons, we avoid food infected with them. Another ancient reason for fasting is its empowering effect. This view is widespread, mainly in folk medicine but also in magical rituals of various religions. Healing is expected to heal mainly from inflammatory diseases, rheumatism, and catarrh; fasting also benefits people suffering from difficult dreams. How folk healing, as well as magical rituals, promise an increased effect from drugs that were preceded by fasting. Fasting, too, increases the magician’s power. The magic power of the famous magicians is often associated with their restrained lives in numerous sagas. However, Greek philosophical schools do not expect to fast the only protection from disease and demonic influences, but the purification of the spirit, inner contentment, freedom, and happiness. He sees it in the context of his life goal. The goal of cynics was, for example, self-sufficiency (egkrateia), the ability to give up everything that was not to sustain existence completely necessarily. The way to this goal was fasting for them. The Stoics’ ultimate goal was eudaemonia; luck consisted of inner freedom, a reasonable life, unadulterated by emotions and irrational motivations. Also, in this school (stoa), he is interested in dietary austerities in considerable space. Stoics see in its training for inner freedom, to live according to common sense, to “overcome the effect that stands in the way of rational behavior.”
The “Epicurean ideal of undisturbed individual peace of mind” also requires a simple way of life. Therefore, in ancient philosophical schools, it is always about the whole man to achieve his ultimate goal. Fasting is an important and proven tool on the way to this goal. It heals a man on body and soul; it leads him to inner freedom; it is the way to self-realization, to inner happiness. In the tradition of ancient philosophical schools, they emphasize even the Church Fathers in their writings the positive effects of fasting on body and soul. John Chrysostomus, in one of his sermons he speaks of the medicine of fasting invented by our “kind Lord as a loving Father.” (4) Because one by nature likes to indulge in pleasure and cannot keep the peace, one must always fast, again and again, free himself from the exaggerated worries about the things of this world and be able to do better devote to spiritual things.

Cassian thinks that many foods dull the heart, and “when the spirit is fat with the flesh, it provides a dangerous substance to ignite sin.” (5) The Old Monks apparently have a close connection between soul and body. If the body thickens, the soul also thickens and dulls. Lots of food diminishes the spiritual vigilance of man. Physical and mental health from a unity. We encounter this knowledge of today’s psychology very often in ancient monks and church fathers. Thus, Athanasius writes: “Handsome is what fasts! Heals diseases dry, overflowing body juices, banishes evil spirits, frightens perverted thoughts, gives the mind more clarity, purifies the heart, sanctifies the body. Then man it leads before God’s throne Fasting is a great force, leading to great success. ” Healing from disease here seems to be related to the drying of excess body juices. At first, the view seems like primitive folk medicine; it is compared to the findings of today’s medicine, he reveals his own meaning.

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