Ayyam-i-Ha is a Baha’i festival that is joyously celebrated in countries and territories all over the world. It is a time of hospitality, generosity, and caring for the needy. This year Ayyam-i-Ha runs from February 26-29.
At some point in our lives, we all suffer from illnesses of the body or the mind and we face tests and difficulties. This collection highlights resources dedicated to physical and spiritual health and well-being, healing, resilience and overcoming challenges.
The Baha’i Fast falls during the month of Ala–the last month of the Baha’i calendar. During these 19 days, Baha’is abstain from food and drink between sunrise and sunset. While this abstention from food and drink is a test of one’s will and discipline, the Fast is not just about abstaining from food. The Fast is, primarily, a spiritual practice.
The Supreme Remedy: A New Book about Fasting by Deborah Walters
Deborah Walters is a Doctor of Naturopathy and Homeopathy and she runs a private practice specializing in spiritual, mental and physical healing. In this wonderful book, she draws on both the Baha’i teachings and her own professional experience to examine the human condition of the soul, mind and body. She focuses on how they interrelate and can be harmonized, transformed and energized through the spiritual discipline of the Baha’i Fast and explores the “illimitable” benefits hidden within the Fast and why Baha’u’llah calls it “the supreme remedy” for self and passion.
The Supreme Remedy is also very practical as well, and Deborah answers questions about the Baha’i Fast like: How does the Fast relate to our health, our minds, and our spiritual growth? How can we make it easier and what foods should we eat?
The book is the first of its kind, and Deborah is currently touring to promote her book. I managed to get in touch with Deborah and asked her a few questions about The Supreme Remedy:
Baha’i Blog: Hi Deborah, can you tell us a little about yourself and your professional background?
I’m a homeopath and a naturopath for the past 15 years worked with people helping them to change their lifestyles to bring the body, mind into balance so the spirit can better express itself in this world.
Baha’i Blog: What was the idea behind the book? Why did you decide to write ‘The Supreme Remedy’ and why do you think it’s important?
When I first started fasting, I wondered why there wasn’t much written on the subject? I longed for guidance, insight and I was so curious about its effects and what I experienced. The difficulties and questions I had personally led me to hours of research and experimentation. In my professional life, I had many calls from Bahai’s who became sick during the Fast, or didn’t fast at all for various reasons and I found the challenge was lack of information, not knowing how to fast properly. I thought I would share with others not only what I learned but the joy I received in fasting and how to look forward to it with confidence. How can someone enjoy fasting or feel spiritual when the body is so sick? How can you hear the spirit when emotionally you are so messy? The various ideas in this book evolved from many years of conducting lectures, workshops and one-on-one consultations, and from my own personal observations and study. My intention is to add to a body of knowledge and set a foundation for further research, thought and insight about the Fast.
Baha’i Blog: The book looks at the spiritual implications of fasting, but is also very practical as well. Can you tell us a little more about this and why you thought the practical component was important to include?
I partly answered it above. I found so many who were ill during the Fast or were hesitant to fast because they didn’t know how to. Fasting is so important to cleanse the body, mind and to enhance the spirit. It’s importance to spiritual progress is through prayer and fasting, and if so many were missing out on the Fast itself, or even the joy of it! The time of the Fast is sacred and filled with innumerable benefits, I wanted to explore those benefits. It’s time to strive for inner unity, setting the stage for the new year. If we look at the quote by the Bab, we can see the significance of our body and how we treat it, perceive it and its effects on the spirit. The Fast is a spiritual experience, but we must also remember our humanity and really honor that we are here on earth in this present moment, and our body is serving as a means for our soul to express in this life, to bring light into the darkness. The Bab said: “As this physical frame is the throne of the inner temple, whatever occurs to the former is felt by the latter. In reality that which takes delight in joy or is saddened by pain is the inner temple of the body, not the body itself. Since this physical body is the throne whereon the inner temple is established, God hath ordained that the body be preserved to the extent possible, so that nothing that causeth repugnance may be experienced. The inner temple beholdeth its physical frame, which is its throne. Thus, if the latter is accorded respect, it is as if the former is the recipient. The converse is likewise true.”
Baha’i Blog: A lot of people often complain about Fasting and find it very difficult, but as the title of your book suggests, Baha’u’llah called fasting the ‘supreme remedy’ in regards to conquering self and passion. Can you please elaborate on this a little and can you share a few words or points with us on how fasting is actually good for us?
The scientific study of the body and mind reflect the spirit. The body and mind require refraining from food and drink while fasting, to detoxify. They also require the proper nutrition and movement to rebuild and repair. Spiritually, the Fast offers a quiet period for proper nourishment of the soul and strengthening its relationship to its Creator. The soul must refrain from attachments to the material world. The timing of the Fast in the Bahai calendar is significant, Baha’u’llah chose it during a temperate time where the sunset and sunrise are about even times all around the world, it’s a gentle approach. The Fast also is placed in the last month of the year, sort of preparing for the new year if you will. It’s a time to refrain from “what is not of Him”, to eliminate things in our life that don’t serve our higher purpose, to detoxify if you will. It’s a time to check in and see how the battle between our ego and spirit is coming along, what things we give our attention to. We want to be sure to open up our heart so wide, to catch everything that is “concealed” within the Fast, its “innumerable benefits”. Every hour is “endowed with a special virtue”. We cast our nets wide open, or our hearts, and we collect these spiritual bounties of the Fast and take them into the new year. What spiritual attributes are needed in my life currently? What does my spiritual guidance seem to be telling me? It’s a time to make plans for the new year, to reflect on what you’ve learned in the past year, to forgive hurts. What do I want to take into my new year, and what can I leave behind, or integrate into my memory bank as knowledge?
Baha’i Blog: Congratulations on your wonderful and useful book Deborah, and thanks so much for taking the time to do this interview with us.
You can purchase your copy of The Supreme Remedy from your local Baha’i Bookstore, or order a copy online here from Amazon.
Deborah Walters also runs a private practice specializing in spiritual, mental and physical healing, and is also in demand for seminars and public speaking in the United States. You can find out more about Deborah and contact her by visiting her website: www.deborahshealingarts.com
Naysan is passionate about using the arts and media to explore the teachings of the Baha’i Faith. Back in 2011, Naysan started up the Baha’i Blog project, channeling his experiences in both media and technology companies to help create a hub for Baha’i-inspired content online.