The routine of my daily secular life has certainly been jostled -that goes without saying. As of right now, it's 1:00pm. Normally, I'd be eyeing that third meal in a few hours and possible a fourth towards the end of the day, but not anymore. I finished my final meal of the day just before noon (although sometimes that meal accidentally spills into the 12:05 realm) and now I'm forced to run on only that fuel for the rest of the day. And since I won't eat again until 5:30am tomorrow, that's a solid seventeen hours without subsistence.
Now, throw that eating-gap in with the fact that I have very little sense of (or interest in) nutrition and balance, then it could be recipe for a very sickly and weak next few weeks. I have lost some weight so far and it seems to be coming off my face first. I can see bits of my once-fantastic beer gut slowly becoming unhinged, but there hasn't been any real change in my abdominal region. My legs --cursed to remain chicken-like for life-- have started to gain a little definition. I guess that's to be expected when so much bowing is required of me.
Aside from the shape of my thinning body, something strange happened to me last night. My stomach --which has never been told 'no'-- will usually start growling at me for nourishment (or junk) somewhere between 6pm and 7pm. And like always, it took a few shots at me during a class last night. Normally, the emptiness of my stomach would stress me out because I can't eat and get it to stop. That's a frustrating feeling.
I sometimes start thinking about how crazy this whole thing is or try to make excuses to eat and break my sixth ethic. I haven't done that and now, I don't think I'll have to. It's nice being able to feel that little bit of personal pride when I wake up in the morning. I'm not known for my sticktoitiveness.
So, the growling started yesterday, but my normal response was different. It was the now-familiar empty-stomach pain and irritation that I've felt for the past eight days, but my response was more pleasurable.
I think of it like this: When I was a college student, I was a heavy (everything) smoker. Because of my poor health choices, I often got sick. I would get a cold three or four times a winter. When I was sick, though, I would always become very aware of my body and it's condition. My health concerns were thrust into the forefront, but once I recovered, they faded back to the dark area where bills, jobs and calls to the parents went to die. People often wait until they're ill to balance their bodies with their minds. Sacrificing my third meal forces my body and mind to interact much more regularly and it's that relationship that I'm discovering is not only part of being a pious Buddhist, but something which will be quite valuable to be later in life. Being aware of this connection in health is new to me.
I get a lot of strange responses when I tell people about this project or when I say that I look forward to my 108 bows (which are different than you might think -video here). I look forward to them because they test me. I look forward to them because they are rewarding to complete and I look forward to them because this project is bound to take me to all sorts of strange and exciting mental places that I surely would have never visited otherwise.