Lent was always one of those things that were in the background for me. I have heard people throughout my life talk about it. All I knew was that it had something to do with religion. The people talking about it were always going to give up swearing or chocolate and eat fish on Friday. Lent 2020 however, I have a whole new perspective. It started when I was chatting to a friend and he said he was going to give Lent a go this year. He told me he was going to fast during it. I thought about my questioning my relationship with food lately and how I have been guided not to eat after 6 pm so told him I would like to join him for support. I never imagined what I would learn and the realizations I would have.
As I looked into it, I found that Jesus went into the wilderness and fasted for 40 days. I really love and admire Jesus so I was more intrigued and wanted to know what I might learn. I was concerned about only drinking water and tea for over 40 days but as I questioned it, I heard my spirit guides say “eat on Sundays”. Through a search on the Internet, I saw that that is indeed how many navigate their full fast, by “feasting” on Sundays during Lent. In addition to fasting, I decided I would give up listening to music other than meditation music, not watch any movies or Netflix unless it is Sunday, and stay off of social media. For the fast I decided to only drink tea and water unless it’s Sunday when I can have full meals and graze on Saturday – I have adjusted this as time has gone on and added some broth and smoothies where appropriate, after the fourth Sunday of Lent as I was guided to “let up”. The time of Lent is February 26 up until Easter Sunday. That is over 40 days but I don’t fast for all the days consecutively. Thank goodness! I am not Jesus for Christ’s sake. What have I learned or realized? In the beginning, I found god, a deeper gratitude practice, letting go of materialism, prioritizing what matters, and as time went on I kept denying myself of certain things I found indulgent or materialistic. The finding god part is mindblowing; it’s not the god anyone has told me about or that I have read about. It’s god within me. It’s me being a part of god. It’s god being all things around me. I can’t look at a thing or person and not see god in it or in them. It’s so spectacular and I am more in love with all than ever! We are all a manifestation of the ‘one’. ‘One’ being god. I don’t believe in the way most portray “it” (god is an “it” to me) or how “it” was portrayed in church. It’s funny to me that in one of my Internet searches of Lent and what it is about, it read that finding god is part of it. I think I would have blown that notion off if I had read it prior to my actually finding god in the fashion I have. Each step of the way in the beginning, as I was having my realizations, I was reading about some of them in the book by Elisabeth Haich named “Initiation”. I saw the book on the shelf and it called to me, I was drawn in immediately after reading a couple of pages and I knew I was reading the right book at exactly the right time. The description of god in her book was what I was finding god to be in my inner realizations. It was really interesting to have this book as a companion to back up what I was learning in real-time. My friend who is also participating in Lent mentioned something about intentionally suffering and I thought, why must we do that? I turned my awareness to suffering. I was suffering before I let up a bit with fasting before the fourth Sunday, not having anything but tea and water for 5 days in a row for several weeks. I felt I could understand the people of the Holocaust, people of slavery, people of poverty, and even people who may live close to me who don’t have, on some tiny level. My hunger was a choice though, they didn’t have a choice. It taught me a lot! It was in some ways a gift and my gratitude level skyrocketed. A part of “Initiation” that really spoke to me, allowed me to understand the suffering aspect, and helped me learn better what Lent is all about is as follows: “By way of contrast, the symbolic representation of materialistic man who uses his intellect for the service of his material being is the cross – or a “T”- formed out of the four squares making up the surface of the cube. On this cross, or “T” the secret, indwelling, divine self is crucified. In such persons, divinity is robbed of its power. It cannot manifest itself and is subject to the laws of the material world – on time and space – and dies on this cross of matter. Its death, however, is not final! Even in the consciousness that has sunk down to the lowest level, the divine creative self sometimes undergoes resurrection and saves the suffering human being. Materialistic man, in his ignorance through crucifying his own higher self- God within himself- creates ceaseless tortures and sufferings for himself; he becomes the criminal who is also crucified beside the divine one. The pains awaken him; his higher consciousness is aroused, and with the resurrection of his divine self, he experiences his own salvation because he recognizes himself in him!” As I continued to meditate, be still, take more nature walks, the lessons kept coming and I came to realize that this is just the way of it and when I came across it in the book, I knew its truth because I found that in myself. I found god within myself. I also had been getting little snips of news about COVID and kept saying to myself and others I explained my Lenten experience to that the virus is like a “forced Lent”. All the things I was discovering in my practice I believe people were learning by experiencing the trials and tribulations of what they are calling a pandemic. People might be experiencing a feeling of deep gratitude, finding out what matters most and prioritizing, seeking a higher power, some spiritual path or god (maybe that’s something that could come after this is over), making materialism less of a priority, and turning inward. I think it’s kind of like a cancer diagnosis. One may start to get their life in some kind of “order”. It’s very curious that the world is going through this “forced Lent” at the same time as I and others who practice are going through a voluntary Lenten experience. I think it’s beautiful although there are many deaths which is tragic. These people who are suffering and many who have died are sacrificing themselves, in a way, so that humanity can have a wakeup call. Why would humanity need a wakeup call? I believe that the world is always operating in a manner of balance and things manifest to put other things back in balance. I believe the COVID is a manifestation of that imbalance. On one of my nature walks, I thought, you’d think that the Holocaust would have been enough to keep people aware and in balance of what matters most. The answer I got was that the Holocaust happened long ago and far away and it’s not something that scares people into action because they don’t think it could happen to them. COVID is indiscriminate and it creates the fear in people significant enough to shift their perspective fairly quickly when it’s so close and a reality. Love and blessings to the families of those who lost someone. If something good can be seen in all of this, maybe it’s that they helped change the minds of millions; these people are heroes. I send you so much love and tenderness. Further, in my lessons, I have likened the COVID and Lenten experiences to an ayahuasca ceremony. It started with the old bits of me dying off. I feel like I was rebirthed. Interestingly enough, the fourth Sunday of Lent is called mothering Sunday. I felt a shift after that and I got the message that I could lighten up on my fasting, at which time I added some smoothies and vegetable broth during the 5 days of tea and water. I believe the last three weeks are meant for me to integrate and make adjustments in my life to what I will practice and make a priority, going forward. These are just my preliminary findings and I know that after some time has passed, I will realize much in hindsight as I have learned is the way of many perspective shifts. I am still learning about Lent. In church, on Easter Sunday, I have seen the banners that read “He is risen”. That has new meaning for me and it means that I or anyone that has gone through a true Lenten experience have risen. I have risen in my consciousness level by changing my perspective. I believe the world is going through this as well. A new world has been birthed through a huge perspective shift and it’s all because of a virus and we are rising to a higher level of consciousness thanks to it.