If we always keep in mind that we are spiritual beings using a physical body to live on this earth for a while and apply that understanding to a text like Matthew 6:16-18 a new story emerges. If we fast it means that we stop the physical world entering into us, this relates to our physical body, but it also relates to the limited ideas of this world. Anointing, aleipho, speaks of the sacred placing of oil on a person who has died, or a person who will now devote themselves to spiritual work, as a priest does. Our head is that place where the life forces, the etheric forces are concentrated. These forces are plant-like and plants go through a cycle of seed to flower then death which creates the new seed. To wash, nipto, which means cleanse, the face is pointing to cleansing our astral body which is the expression of our emotions and feelings. These activities are ongoing in those who have committed to experiencing their spiritual being.
“And when you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by men. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by men but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Mt 6:16-18
This is saying that we cannot put on an act. When we abstain from eating don’t pretend and look sullen, hiding our real motives. This is egotistical. Those who pretend will have their reward, misthos, get what is due to them. When we fast, anoint and wash, cleansing our physical, etheric and astral bodies, do it not to be seen by others but for inner transformation which will be rewarded apodidomi, which means to discharge what is due, to restore.
We have such a sense of inner privacy that we think that we can feel, think and will whatever we like. It is our business. We happily think things that we would never say. This is pretence, this is being hypocritical. Perhaps we enjoy the feeling of freedom that comes with thinking whatever we like, but that is not what freedom is. Freedom comes when we can stop ourselves from thinking things that we would never say to a person. Freedom comes when we can stop ourselves from feeling hurt or disappointed. This freedom comes when we experience life through our I Am, which is our spiritual being. The other freedom is bound to our astral and its instinctive egotistical responses.
When we experience true freedom through the presence of our I Am in our soul this inner experience is rewarded, apodidomi, our karma is discharged and we are restored.