The second story of transformation is the story of the dictator. The dictator is internalized social norms, the therapist, parents, or social media. The people are being told what to do by the dictator. The protagonist - the person willing to transform - is the people, das Volk.
The only way to tame the people and keep them in control is by rules, pain, and punishment. For a while, this works great. The autobahn is being built. You finally find direction in life. However, even though the Volk seems submissive, a revolt is secretly planned. This happens underneath the radar of the dictator. But the Volk retains its untamed instincts. The dictator can never fully trust the Volk. Little misdeeds happen. The Volk is punished, and more laws and regulations are passed. For a while, it seems like order can be maintained. What happens is that the system comes closer and closer to total breakdown. Anything that threatens the plan will be avoided and banned out of life.
The protagonist is constantly on guard. Agility is non-existent. Fragility is the consequence.
The result is frustration, non-existent fun, a sense of deprivation, and meaninglessness, bafflement about what matters prevails. Like an alcoholic, the protagonist manages to take it “one day at a time.” Until she dies, she can be called mildly successful in her approach. But it doesn’t feel like it to her. She feels like life is happening without her. She avoids anything that might be a trigger.
The story of fasting
The story of fasting differs from these stories of transformation. While the first story is about cultivating inner change, the second is about cultivating outer change by laws and regulations (even if those laws and regulations are dictated by oneself). Fasting is where the outer meets the inner. To me, it’s raw. It’s real. It’s learning to face and deal with resistance.
What I want from this fast, is to neither allow an escape to the inner nor the outer.
The last couple of days, the protagonist - me - experienced a yearning desire to eat. In the past, I have dealt with this through the dictator. Today, I try to apply the age-old practice of noticing what happens without resistance or judgment. I neither use the dictator nor escape to inner practices that make me feel good but don’t get the job done.
For the transformation towards the Ecocene, we need to find this third story of transformation. To me, it’s the story of fasting. It allows me to learn to connect what we need to do: consume less; with what we strive to be: relaxed and joyful.
In aspiring peace & joy,