Have you ever noticed how many times the number 40 pops up in history, spirituality and literature? It’s a good number indeed, but I’ve often wondered why the number 40 plays such a high profile. The most important thing about the number 40 as it plays out in my life currently is that it represents the number of days that have passed since I’ve had a drink. It’s not something that I set out to do with any specificity. It just sort of happened.
Each year I choose a time to cleanse. Sometimes I do it twice a year. Each time I cleanse I usually give up a lot of things that I enjoy in order to allow my human body to restore itself at a higher level. I have always thought of myself as a healthy eater. I practice yoga and martial arts and do other types of workouts at least five days a week. When I cleanse I take things to a different extreme. No Gluten. No sugar. No Grain. No dairy. No caffeine. No alcohol. I try to practice yoga everyday. The typical length of one of my cleanses is 21 days, but I don’t always go the full period without a little treat or two. Lately I’ve gotten away from calling them cheats and I call them treats instead. I think it is a healthier view of self. It is empowering instead of defeating. It is reward based instead of punitive.
For many years during the Lenten season (which is 40 days by the way) I give up sweets and wine. When I do that I usually give myself a Saturday only exception. I have always thought of that as a healthier view of self as well. Instead of punishing myself I am practicing self-discipline. Wouldn’t that be what Jesus wanted of me? To have a healthy amount of self-love and to practice self-discipline? And an occasional glass of wine!
As I have gone through this week and come to the realization that as of today I will have gone 40 days without any wine, beer, bourbon or anything else it dawned on me that this is the longest period in my entire adult life that this has happened. I find that thought both empowering and a little intimidating. More reflection is certainly due to come. There is something different about this particular cleanse and I think that is why it has lasted longer than any cleanse I have undertaken. The thing that is different is that I am not seeking any particular physical result. I’m not trying to lose weight. I’m not trying to prove to myself that I can do it. I’m not trying to reset my digestive system.
The thing that is different this time is that I am listening to my soul speak. I am trying to raise my vibration. I am trying to expand my consciousness. This is not a physical journey for my human to follow. This is a purely spiritual journey for my higher self to explore. I am grateful.
So as Day 40 has drawn closer during this wonderful week, I’ve been doing a little reading about the significance. The first thing that came to my mind was how many times the number 40 pops up in the Bible. I’m certainly no bible scholar, but even I know that there are a number of significant 40’s in the Bible.
In the book of Genesis it is said that God made it rain for 40 days and 40 nights to purify the earth – some versions say destroy instead of purify but I don’t believe that our Source believes in destruction. Moses spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mount Sinai. When Elijah fled from Jezebel, he traveled 40 days and 40 nights to Mt. Horeb. Jesus was led into the desert by Spirit where he fasted for 40 days and 40 nights. There were 40 days between Jesus’ resurrection and ascension.
The significance of the number 40 is not limited to Judaism and Christianity. According to the Quran a person only reaches mental maturity when they reach the age of 40. In the Russian Orthodox religion it is believed that the soul of a departed wanders the earth for 40 days visiting places that the departed has lived. On the 40th day the family gathers for a memorial meal at the home and visits the grave site. Perhaps they borrowed this belief from ancient Egyptians who believed that the etheric body took 40 days to dissolve back into the Universe. This is why after 40 days packed in salt during the mummification process the body is then stuffed with linen or sand to retain its human form. It is said that the Buddha reached enlightenment after fasting and meditating under the Bodhi tree for 40 days. I could cite hundreds of other references, but if you are truly interested do the research yourself. It’s mind boggling!
Perhaps the most unique tidbit of information I ran across when researching the number 40 was something I found at a website called Quest for Creation Answers. The host of the site, who seems to be unidentified, proposes that the solar year which is 365.24219 days can be measured out and metered perfectly on a nine year cycle of 40 day units. They cite that countless ancient sites that are way older than the Buddha, Jesus or the Egyptians are set up to measure time on a forty day cycle. The math that it takes to explain this is far more than my brain can compute and relay to you, but if you’d like to do away with the need to have leap days every four years check out the amazing facts!
While this is all fun, what does it really mean as it relates to my life right now? I’m not really sure. All I truly know is that when this period of spiritual cleansing started I knew right away that something was different and that as of today I haven’t had a drink for 40 days. Will I have a glass of wine at some point in the future? Maybe yes and maybe no, but I do know that whatever I choose to do, I will view it differently as a result of the experiences I have had over the last 40 days. Is it a coincidence that this period has lasted 40 days? Probably not. Is there likely some level of Spiritual intervention? Probably yes.
If you had asked me on May 1st if I thought I could go 40 days without a glass of wine, I likely would have said this: “I think it would be difficult to navigate through the social situations of my daily life without drinking anything at all…”
As it turns out it has been remarkably easy. When the soul speaks, and we decide to listen, our human lines up and answers the call. Instead of viewing this journey as a sacrifice of something that just brings me pleasure, I’ve been blessed with the strength to open my portal of higher consciousness to allow in an immense amount of Joy. For that I am truly grateful….