I had said at a meeting that I viewed abstinence as a form of spiritual service and another member asked if I could explain how, so here goes!
First, my passion right now is meditation. The kind I do is a concentration meditation where I sit and pay attention to my breath. This meditation helps me know that I’m not in control of anything, not even my breath. The other kind I do is insight meditation where I am mindful of my thoughts, feelings, emotions and sensations as they pass through me. This meditation helps me know that everything in my life is impermanent. I find that the practices of abstinence fall right in with these meditations. As I plan, prepare, weight and measure my food, these activities bring me back to myself and keep me grounded and calm, just like my other meditation practices. They take a great deal of devotion and commitment and are practiced daily.
Another form of spiritual service I do is self-development. My belief is that by healing myself and reaching my potential I have the most to give to help raise the consciousness in the world. I find that abstinence helps develop many qualities that enhance my self-development. For one thing, I am calmer and my emotional state is more balanced. Secondly, I have to show a great deal of commitment and effort. I learn patience. I learn to trust myself and be confident. I learn to rely on others for support. I probably could list about 100 other things but those are a few off the top of my head.
Lastly, since I am a complex spiritual being, I am also Jewish. At first, I was concerned that abstinence would be a conflict with Jewish practice. That is because every week we sit and drink grape juice or wine and eat bread to sanctify the Sabbath. There are also various holidays where non-abstinent food plays a role. However, right before starting my abstinence I was reminded of a story in the Jewish holy book about a particular type of person who would make a vow to God for a special kind of spiritual service. That person was called a Nazerite. They abstained from grape juice/wine, cutting their hair and contact with the dead. When I read that, I decided that I was called to a form of service called abstinence and mine was from sugar, wheat, flour, and other trigger foods. So I offered that commitment to whatever higher power or life force is out there. That ties the abstinence in with my religion, even though sometimes I am doubtful about religion at all!
All the best,
Ora a recovering food addict from CO