On food, exercise and consciousness
The disciple asked: “ Master, many spiritual people say that we are souls or spirits having a physical, human experience; therefore, they teach to avoid activities which will support the experience of being flesh rather than spirit. Many have special diets and avoid mainstream forms of physical exercise. What could you share with me about that?”
The master observed his disciple for a few seconds and responded: “Many will emphasize the ideal and forget what is. That gap will create an inner fight in the follower and dishonesty within.” The disciple wasn’t expecting such generic answer, so he asked for further clarification.
The master said: “ I gave a general answer. If you had experience on what I said, you wouldn’t ask for more. Please remember this: As my answers become more specific they are further away from what is, even though; you may think that you understood.” The disciple did not understand that response either, but thankfully; the master continued.
“ As is your consciousness, so will be your understanding. Your activities will be accordingly. Many want specific answers from an authority so they can follow them based on trust and create a religion or philosophy to proselytize believing to have the right answer, the truth. However; in spirituality you need to walk the path yourself. Knowing the path intellectually is not walking it. But walking it, is to know it.” And then paused for a few seconds to continue: “We are conditioned through society. Many may need to physically exercise according to what society has sold them to be good, respectable, desirable: The gym, the swimming pool or to go out and run. They may create a habit, their bodies are used to that activity which will give them identity, as- I am this- and that could become an addiction fueled through the ideals of improvement and competition, supported by society. The body needs to exercise but exercise is not meant to exhaust you but to give you energy. Others have exercised their entire lives through work. Walking to the office, cleaning the house, farm work etc. but without conscious awareness. Finally there are others using meditative movements as exercise, conscious movements which are not only exercising the body but preparing them for conscious living. Their activities and consciousness will give them their diets. The range goes from eating anything to almost nothing to live well. Many believe that a can of soda is necessary to live or to drink alcohol, or to eat processed food. Others are conditioned to pleasure their sense of taste to eat endlessly, although the human body needs little food to function properly. These individuals are unaware of their addiction for the conditioning of society supports consumerism. They may believe that a person’s well being and happiness depends on obtaining consumer goods and material possessions.”
The disciple said: “ But that is the majority of people.”
The master said: “That is why they are not here now with you. Their consciousness is different. it does not mean that you are better, but just at another stage of the many faces of Life. As we walk the spiritual path our activities will change and so our diet. That change will be natural without inner conflict, in harmony with your new BEING. The only requisite is to honestly die from your old self: Your old beliefs, everything you think you know. I emphasize the word honesty. If we haven’t crossed that threshold we will not be ready for that ideal preached by religions and philosophies.”
The disciple then had an Aha! moment: “Oh, religions and philosophies may emphasize the goal, the final result rather than attending to the individual process, for not everyone is the same.” The master replied: “ Their goal is to massify everything, to gain followers. Even truth sometimes is determined by the number of followers a system has, but spirituality is not concerned with those things. Spiritual progress merges in a seldom walked narrow path.”
“What is the concern of spirituality then?” Asked the disciple.
“Your consciousness.” replied the master.
The word AWARENESS is not understood. It just becomes another theory to “practice” once in a while. Something like becoming your own police at particular times until this “practice” gets tiresome and our “normal” self takes over.
Perhaps a better way to convey the meaning of awareness is when we feel in balance. Health is part of that. Health is ONE but we divide it in 3 general aspects; physical, mental and emotional.
The physical aspect is the most noticeable. That is what we recognize as being “healthy.”
My friend and chiropractor Mike, discovered how detrimental a diet based on simple sugars could be. Sugar could ruin our health. He wrote a comment in the blog, the other day:
“As an observer you can help others examine how sugar is evil and the start of disease so you stay hooked sick and have to take medicines for life to support the corporate sugar and pharmacy industry.”
Today, I will take up the subject of health which is very “Spiritual.” In fact, wholesome health is the purpose of any worthwhile spirituality.
Ahnanda has discovered that in Life, rejection of something will bring consequences. We cannot understand something if we have previously rejected it.
I wouldn’t label sugar as “evil.” Sugar is sugar. It is said that Life is sweet as sugar…
When we are out of balance, we will try to compensate what we lack by overdoing something else, thus; unwillingly hurting ourselves, creating disease. We are not aware of that. Let us say that I experience anxiety or that I experience sleepless nights. Compensation could be emotionally achieved by overeating or taking higher amounts of sugar. Over time, this translates into a disease.
Eating is one of the few Life pleasures which hasn’t been condemned by our society. It is a good outlet for many. Emotionally, that is a safe way to enjoy Life, thus any restrictions to food will definitely have a bitter consequence.
“No more sugar from now on” will be a miserable experience for many. The answer is not in that extreme. However, there are exceptions: There may be many individuals who are killing themselves by the ingestion of too much sugar. For them, “no more sugar from now on” could be a Life saver. Observe how the closer we are to one extreme, we will need another extreme solution in the opposite direction to regain balance.
To enjoy Life, is a matter of living in Balance. In harmonious relationship “within” and “without.”
Health (mind, body, emotions) is definitely observable in this balance.
Our minds are usually extremist. As we become acquainted with our “gut feeling” to move in Life (rather than making “thoughtful” decisions) there will be less mind, meaning a greater “sense” of balance.
A glass of Coke may be full of sugar, but if that drink was used as a “reward” when you were a kid, that Coke acquires the importance of “emotional food” when adult; which will be helpful in some low moments in our lives. That is an example of balance.
Emotional needs are as important as physical ones. Priorities will continually change in a healthy balance. That is why they cannot be pinned as: “This is the way,” or “This is evil.”
Our minds are so used to labeling something as “good” and other things as “evil.” That extremist labeling will only reduce our ability to observe.
It is in true observation, where taking sides do not exist. We may be in one side to go to the other side.
You are informed about Sugar. Now experience it, then you will know. No need to proselytize. 🙂
The path is clear for those who are traveling it. To go from the physical into the subtle.
Many are experienced with the subtle world as far as having “experiences” in it; but the path of knowing is to be it, to become. We may have a glimpse of something but to be is the goal.
In spirituality to know means to be.
In the “normal” world of big egos who are trained to “fight” to survive and to control others as a master does to a servant; any sort of subtleness is equated with weakness.
In the Spiritual world, your level of gentleness will show your degree of spiritual advancement.
To be gentle as water; means to be able to adapt to different settings, different containers, different personalities. Not having a shape of itself, but always transforming. The character of gentleness is an open door to life and the experiences that it may bring.
That openness comes through a reformation of the self.
For example, diet is a very important factor in that reformation process. In fact, our diet will change continuously; it will be more refined to reflect the changes in the self.
From eating meat, to being a vegetarian; there is a difference. Also from eating pungent and spicy food items into natural, raw items; is a change.
From drinking sodas to water is another change.
Our diets will reflect that inner transformation. The manifestation is equal to the source.
Similarly, our sleeping patterns. Early mornings will be cherished. It is the natural way.
One of the most important items to be in tune with subtle energies, is to be in harmony with Nature.
Through Nature, we can remember our true Nature.
The sounds of Nature and to feel its diverse lights and energies are healing and nourishing to enhance our sensibility to natural beauty.
“Technological progress,” has closed our hearts.
Nature will bring feelings to a closed heart. It will make it alive again.
It is in the perception of that beauty from Nature, how we will be in tune with the inside; and find out that our inner side reflects what we see outside.
Inside and outside become in tune, in balance as our sensibility changes.
As we experience the path of spirituality with greater depth, there will come a time where any sort of separation will be unthinkable. There cannot be a “you vs. me;” nor a “my religion is better than…” for as we see things in a broader perspective, with greater openness; the world will be that family and spirituality will be the only religion.
That is how communion could be possible, for going back to unity means to find those things which we have in common, rather than trying to find differences when there is none. We are human beings.
The spiritual path is a way to offer our hands in cooperation to the world; not as a teacher or a student, not as a helper or savior; but just as someone who truly cares.
Question: Omshanti I’m in gyan for last 4 yrs , now i’m living in a hostel (a medical student) and unable to follow the pure diet. I eat in the remembrance of god but i’m observing that the food is having bad effect on my consciousness. What are the options i can go for?
Thank you for your question.
Here is the list: fruits, vegetables, yogurts, juices and plenty of water.
Raw vegetables, if you are used to that.
You can accept those from anyone at any time and those items will be beneficial for your health. If you could use the kitchen of the hostel, then you can prepare your own meals in your own pots. I have done that while living in a hostel in India for about a month.
Question: Om Shanti, Dear Brother, Is it ok to have have Ginger? I feel that it is also come under the category of Onion and Garlic. Am I correct?
Thank you for your question!
Although I am running out of “research time” these days, below a link that i found where it clearly states that Onion and Garlic are from the same family. It does not mention the same about Ginger
I know of some BKs that will “excel” in suppressing things “just in case.” I heard about radishes being another “family” member of onions, etc. The Maryadas mention to be away from garlic and onions due to their aphrodisiac properties, and that is what I would recommend, in “general.”
If you feel that you would like to experiment by taking ginger out of your diet as well as radishes, please let me know what you find out.
Personally, I do not eat radishes (never liked them) and ginger is a once in a while item.
Question: Dear brother, can you please mention once again that what kind of diet one should prefer for a Brahmin (celebate) lifestyle ? “Non processed food” means only raw fruits and vegetables?
Here is the link to the article:
and here for “non-processed food” (simple Google search)
Question:Dear brother, as you have mentioned food is very important for our spiritual upliftment .I am the only person in gyan from our family. And the food making incharge is my mother.I have talked to her about this but she doesn’t like the idea of me, not having food prepared by her. I have to keep making excuses for avoiding food prepared by her and have to prepare something when she is not at home :-) Our relationship gets strained due to this. Please guide how to handle this situation. Thankyou.
Thank you for your question!
Dear soul, you could concentrate with her on those items that she can give you like: salads (non –cooked items) fruit juices, fruit salads and anything else where there is no need to cook.
You haven’t mentioned your age nor other aspects of your life which are preventing you from living by yourself, so this issue will not arise.
This situation usually becomes a problem when there is some sort of “dependency.” (economical, emotional, socio-cultural.) No one can force you to ingest food items that you do not want to eat. To prepare your own meals should be part of your “independent” life style and your right to “choose” unless you are adding a burden on others.
In the meantime, what you are doing seems to work until another option appears in your Drama.