Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Ash Wednesday

For Lent this year I have decided to give up meat for the third consecutive year in a row. The decision to give up meat yet again is influenced largely by the fact that my brother and one of my sisters have become vegetarians and my other sister is a vegan. That and I don't really have all that many other things to give up. I don't gamble, smoke, drink, take drugs, or do much of anything that people generally give up. I could give up something easier than meat such as snacks or fast food but seeing as to how I do not eat snacks very often (of the junk food variety) or eat fast food often (usually eat at home and when I do eat out it generally is not fast food) that is not really a sacrifice (there are also many other reasons as to why it is good to give up meat and in general I don't eat a lot of meat - no where near the average amount for people in my country).

Even if you are not a Christian or a religious person it is good to occasionally at least attempt to give up a vice or get rid of a bad habit (a lot of people make New Years resolutions which is similar), even if it is only for a short time (to prove to yourself, if no one else, that you can -though it is better to not start up a bad habit or vice once you have given it up). It need not be a vice or something you consider a bad habit though; giving up something that consumes a lot of your time for a little while can be beneficial as well. If you spend four hours a day watching television or surfing the internet giving that up for awhile may open up new interests or increase communication with friends and family as you try to fill the time.

Besides giving something up for Lent it is customary to pray more often. I do not consider myself to be a very religious person and do not spend very much time praying at all. You don't really have to believe in God to benefit from prayer. Prayer is in many ways similar to meditation and has many of the same tangible advantages (reduces stress, opens blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, etc.). So if you are religious try praying more during Lent (and try combining it with breathing exercises of meditation), if you are not religious try meditating occasionally. Oh and by prayer I do not mean asking God for things like to win the lottery; God is not a genie.

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