Fasting on the Lost Coast

A few years ago two of the teachers in our Living Wisdom Schools had a special opportunity to share with their students the power of drawing on superconscious inspiration. In this instance the teachers, along with two other adults, took ten teenagers on a backpacking trip along the remote and challenging Lost Coast of California.

The teacher who had the responsibility for planning the food had no experience in this area. On a backpacking trip you don’t want to bring too much food since everything has to be carried. Wanting to make sure there would be just the right amount, she sought out the advice of another adult who had backpacked with children. Unfortunately, it was later revealed that this person’s experience was with 7 to 10 year olds instead of healthy, growing teens.

From the first meal it was apparent that there would be a shortage of food. After devouring the meager, tasteless portions, the teens were overheard expressing a few comments about the dangers of starvation. By the second and third meals, the teen’s energy was definitely moving in a negative, self-centered direction.

Although there was no real danger of starving, the adults were concerned about the situation and held a meeting amongst themselves. In situations like this, people can become nervous and worried. Sometimes there’s finger pointing— “Why didn’t you…?” or defeatism— “Let’s give up and go back; it’s hopeless.” But one of the adults had the inspiration to draw on the superconscious. Looking beyond the shortage of food, she saw an opportunity to help the teens become aware of the contractiveness of their attitudes. She said, “We know we can stick with the rations and be fine, but they don’t see that. Let’s mix all the portions together and serve the teens first. After they have been satisfied, we will eat. If there’s no food left, we’ll fast.” Everyone agreed. One of the adults was also chosen to hike out the 25 miles to the nearest town to get more food.

The next day the food was cooked and served. Since there were no leftovers, the adults went down to the beach and did Paramhansa Yogananda’s Energization Exercises, consciously drawing divine energy into their bodies. They were refreshed and recharged. At first, the teenagers only noticed that there was a little extra food, but gradually began to express concern that it would be the adults who were going to starve. A couple of the teens even started to eat less and stopped complaining. It wasn’t enough to tip the balance though, as the others continued to eat all the food. The adults’ fast continued into the second and third day as they hiked deeper into the wilderness.

One of the adults related, “You know, I used to believe I was hypoglycemic, and at the end of the first day I was feeling very shaky. I didn’t know if I could go on. Through God’s grace, I let go of this thought and instantly I felt stronger.”

By the time the teacher returned on the fourth day with the new food, the teenagers had had enough of “stubborn adults”. Their concern for others had finally drowned out the clamor of their appetites. Taking control of the “kitchen”, they announced, “We’re cooking the meal this time, and the adults eat first!” As the adults broke their fast, the teenagers all applauded.

The students not only had the chance to learn important lessons about caring for others, cooperation, and self-sacrifice, but also to see how a superconscious attitude can turn obstacles into opportunities.

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