Because our society is living in the mind, we tend to hide our emotions as dust is hidden under a carpet.
To promote that humans are “rational” beings may be a lie. In the “office” world we may act rational but not in “real Life.”
For instance, we may know that death will arrive sooner or later. If a son dies before the father, we may label that as “untimely” or “premature.” Our minds have an expected pattern. If the father dies before the son, even though the pattern has been respected, even though the son knows the father will die first; when the day comes for the father to depart, the son may break down emotionally.
Where is the “rationality” then? Isn’t death natural? The solution may be in taking refuge in the “future.”
A religion may talk about the “future.” “Now” does not matter. The “future” is important. Many things could happen to a person “now” but forget about it. This behavior closes the capacity to feel. It is the perfect scenario to put up the “tough” face despite living with a melting heart.
In the opposite side, a “self-help book” may acknowledge our emotional side. “It is OK to express how you feel,” nevertheless; the trauma created is unexplored.
If a child is aware that his father has passed away, we could tell him: “God has called your daddy.” Frustration and anger may develop in that child for that idea of God, but our belief may be that we are helping him to deal with his pain.
We are incapable of explaining that death is as natural as living and death can arrive to anyone at any time. Because “you” are here now, “you” will not be. Simple, rational.
Give him a hug with empathy, allowing him to feel support. That is compassion when it is no rehearsed.
As everything in Life, every experience will go away, and we will move on, we will evolve… unless we decide to keep that experience as a trauma.
That is my recent discovery about Life: Be there emotionally, allow the inner child to express, but at the same time, be there rationally, allowing the inner parent to hold the child. Both archetypes are inside us.
One more thing: The only time that matters is the “now.”
The past or the future are for the mind. To be in the “now” means to be “out of the mind.” For that, we may embrace “what is” without looking for explanations or pretty beliefs to cover things up…. We may express our feelings and compassion “now,” in that way; rationality embraces emotionality and both together may heal and integrate into the Totality. As individuals we can only see biased fragments of the Totality, that distortion creates the trauma of the “I.”
Thus, integration into the Totality is how the “I” is healed, for it means to see the Ocean rather than segmenting it and focusing only on a drop of it.
“What are the causes of overeating and being overweight? I am curious to know about it from a spiritual angle.”
Thank you for your question.
First, Ahnanda does not write from any particular angle. You may believe that this is the “spiritual” angle; but then what is “spiritual”?
What is spirituality? Who decided to coin that name related with “spirits” rather than human beings?
When we are aware that we are endlessly dividing one self into body, spirit, soul, etc. we will realize that one “part” cannot be without the other.
It is senseless to “limit” spirit from the body out of a mental idea. In “reality” body/spirit/ soul are together for human beings to manifest in the physical realm.
Ahnanda writes about Life and is interested in living Life in a sensible way. For me, that is the art to know and “practice.” That is why this blog is titled “Exploring the depth of Living” rather than “exploring spirituality.”
Now into your question…
“Overeating”is the keyword in your question.
“Why do we overeat?” Some anxious belief in being “better,” a need of being rewarded, the compulsion of savoring a permissible pleasure of Life which is “OK” in our society, as many other pleasures may be considered “wrong,” “bad,” “taboos.”
Observe that I am not telling you the “cause” or the “causes.” I am just observing your question in myself. That is my experience of overeating.
No need to find “reasons” and be “rational” about it, when dealing with “emotions.”
If we were AWARE that our hands are feeding us and then aware of how we eat our meals, then that AWARENESS will cure us from overeating. But because we are not AWARE, our compulsions, anxieties and need for gratification will cloud our consciousness. Our emotions will dictate our compulsive behavior.
Did that sound like “Psychology 101”?
Sorry about that. It is not. I am not researching “others” and testing on demographic samples. I am just observing, watching myself.
How do we label that? Under which angle do we classify that “activity”?
Curiosity is a good thing to “get the answer,” but to wonder may be the key to “have the answer.”
Because curiosity looks for answers. When we wonder, we are observing, fascinated by just that. It is in that AWARENESS how the answer arrives, for there is no need to answer what haven’t been questioned.
You just know. 🙂
Carmen is a new parent. She said to me: “No one is teaching me how to be a parent… this information should be pushed into the school system and beyond.”
Even though she has “good intentions” behind her statement; observe that she is already caught up with the system: The information on how to be a parent is pushed from another source, to be “right.”
Carmen was praising all the books that she read which “helped her” practically.
Carmen read a book about “a prosperous attitude towards money, so money could flow in life, by getting rid of different beliefs that she was inculcated when she was a kid,” However, my friend could not use that information into her parenting situation.
Carmen lacked Life experience. She has theory in her mind, a very good paragraph of “wisdom,” but she is unable to apply it in different aspects of her Life.
Most human beings have developed many traumas when children. Parents did the best they knew; but that wasn’t enough. Hang ups, taboos, beliefs and so on were transmitted from their parents. Therefore, that is what will be transmitted to their kids. It is unconscious. Why? Because we are not aware.
Many times a child will be rebellious towards his parents. He will not go along with their “ideas,” unfortunately; that child does not realize that to reject his parent’s ideas will only make that trauma stronger. There is no experience of that, no awareness.
Then the “traditional good idea” comes. “If I knew how to be a parent, I will help others to do the same.”
That is very shallow. This is not just information that we pass along like in the “office world” when we get ready to take a test to be a “certified” parent.
Your awareness is needed. If you are aware of the baggage inside you, you will start with you. Look at your issues. Then, your “true self” will be displayed for your kids; not the behavior which you learned in a book, which is not truly you. Just because you know information, it doesn’t mean that you ARE that.
I am not saying that we should wait until we solve our internal issues to become a parent either. This is not a “black or white” “solution.” Just be aware that as you ARE, you will be matched by Life with a partner and that is what is “right” for you. That experience will teach you something, and then your consciousness will move on until… you are able to see yourself as you ARE: Then the process of dissolution of ego starts.
“But how do I help others?”
By allowing them to go through their own process in Life. That is free of judgments.
Let me be clear: The thought of helping others or teaching others, is just self-gratification. Life puts the teacher when the student is ready; BUT neither the teacher nor the student know about those labels, so they are free from the cage that those labels imply. It is that freedom what makes the internal change.
Because you can only give who you ARE, unless you ARE love, there is no love to give.
We are taught to believe that we can give love without BEING it, as when we can give money to someone when we “get it.”
We cannot “get” love to give, unless we ARE.
Any “effort” on BEING loving is self-deception.
We are taught to be desire-less to be happy. However, what is the anxious need to go to “Paradise,” to reach illumination, to please God, to become “soul” conscious”? Those things are desires just like any other “mundane” desire.
We are taught to “help others in a self-less” way; Nevertheless, we cannot BE self-less by separating “I” from the “others.” As a matter of fact, to “help others” is just a catchy phrase. By helping others, we only help ourselves. Do we get this riddle? We are not separated.
We are taught to take Life seriously, whether in the mundane business world or in the Godly world: Time is money- Become someone, save yourself from hell; hurry up! This is your only chance, if you miss this chance you will be doomed forever…
We cannot enjoy life when there is pressure to attain something, when our process is not being respected. Then we are willing to “sacrifice” our lives now for the promise to “enjoy” something in the future. That is a wonderful “method” but nothing else.
That promise of a “better” future is empty, as the “I” as it is now, cannot be the “I” in the future.
Our desire for a “better future” will only make us reject the “now.”
Once we realize the depth of all of those beliefs in our minds; then we are ready to put aside all of those teachings, to unlearn all of those things which keep the “rat-race” going in our minds as well as the division, of the mundane and the divine.
We could be aware of our own fear to continue in Life without those “training wheels,” those half-truths which we believed to be the “holy truth.” Ego needs the security of being part of a “selected” group, the mainstream, the Godly family, the familiar faces…
The above realization is the first step of our catharsis as seekers.
Before that, being a seeker is just another fashion, another way for the ego to believe in himself as “virtuous,” another way to socialize and to show how many spiritual books we can read and how many authors we could quote. That is a source for fattening our needy ego, for we could obtain the label of “knowledgeable” among our peers.
A catharsis then, is a process of unlearning and with that, a process of unleashing our repressed behaviors.
We could understand that some beliefs are just equal to the belief in Santa Claus, a technique meant to teach a self-centered person, the “joy” of giving a gift to another… but the belief in Santa Claus will be deep down in our unconscious no matter how much we could reason and understand in the surface of the conscious mind. Its depth in the unconscious is proportional to the amount of time we have spent drilling down such beliefs in our conscious mind.
For that reason, we shall deal with emotions, the “programming” of our unconscious.
Many individuals who have not experienced the process of a catharsis are caught up in blaming a society, a religion, a practice… unable to see that every experience is invaluable in our development.
What is important is to know when those “tools” need to be discarded, so we could embrace something new.
For instance, ego is a “tool.” It is not a “bad” thing, a vice. It is a mechanism of “self-defense,” something that will allow a person to survive in this society. However, it comes to a point, when that grown up ego, is an obstacle to flourish by connecting with others… then ego must go away through a process of catharsis.
The “programming” is erased. Some religions pretend to have “the method” to erase the emotions stored deep in our unconscious. However, everyone is not the same. A “method” may work for some but no others. Life will bring the right conditions at the right time. Different Life experiences are tailored to our particular needs. We are not alone.
Through that catharsis, you are empty and open for newness. It is in that emptiness how Love IS.
Before that catharsis, love may be pretty talk, romantic “get aways,” and fairy tales.
Batman wasn’t born when he faced his fear of bats.
He was born when he discovered his guilt (of his parents being murdered) covered by his anger.
His anger allowed him to look fearless…but he had fear, and he faced it.
Propelled by anger he could have been a criminal, without that; he discovered compassion. He was born again.
The fear of bats was just a symbol preserving that guilt.
Our desire to become “something” such as “better, enlightened, wise, powerful, fearless, etc.” is the obstacle of being empty of ego. Who wants to become “better”? The “I.” The same “I” who wants to get rid of himself to become “better.”
Every energy that we come in contact with, has a purpose for being there.
Anger, lust, greed, attachment, ego… all of those have a purpose. They are neither “good nor bad” but necessary when we are living in the consciousness of “I.” The purpose of the above energies is to maintain and support that “I.”
Once the “I” wants to get rid of those energies due to feeling guilty, all that this “I” can do is… avoid acting, avoid expressing.
Those energies will be in the person despite his actions. That energy cannot be discarded by willing to be “better,” by “making effort” or by following a method, or by connecting with whichever sacred entity we can think of.
There are many “peace seekers.” The ideal is peace.
Peace is not a “doing.” The absence of war is not peace, when humans live in inner struggle.
It is that inner struggle the one seeking self-destruction.
Under that condition; there cannot be peace but only absence of war as a repression of expressing our inner struggle.
“Peace seekers” are acting according to their experience of peace. Thus, there are some people who will act, rally, proselytize pushing “peace”… and others who will not.
Action defines some people. When their actions are not in congruence with BEING, it is an egotistical action. Others know that BEING drives doing, thus peace can only be brought when we are peaceful ourselves. No need to talk, to act, but to BE.
Anger has a function. We could cover our guilt in anger. We could bury our fear by covering it with a “nice” ideal, a “nice” word such a “compassion,” “love,” etc.
That is the state of consciousness of most individuals. It is about ideals, it is about “nice” words, it is about following a method, a teacher, a God, a holy scripture…to be “better,” to be “more spiritual,” to become “enlightened.”
When we are willing to peel our layers of inner deception, that is the time when we awaken to the reality of our inner dishonesty. That is the time when rather than “practicing” and “doing things to become better,” we face who we are. We face our fears, our struggles not by rejecting them or by asking for forgiveness, but by acknowledging that “this” is who we are at this time.
Just as if we were looking at another person and pinpointing that person’s virtues and weaknesses, we don’t realize that we are seeing what we know in ourselves.
We may need to be able to look at ourselves. Become aware of that which we call “I.”
Then we will see that anger, fear, lust, attachment, had a reason and timing to be there; but once we see them, perhaps the time to let them go has arrived.
There is nothing to do or practice to get rid of them, but just by allowing the opening of that “I,” by allowing for changes to happen, by allowing emptiness and not by trying desperately to control things so they appear the way we believe to be “good for us.”
Life has its own methods. Do not judge the method.
Definitely the above is not for all of us, for we may not be ready yet to “see inside.”
When that “inner looking” does not happen, then the “game” of naming actions and things as “good or bad, right or wrong” will be necessary for that is as much as our consciousness will allow us to understand.
What else could we see, if we are not willing to face ourselves?
…And just when I thought that to be tough is all there is in Life, I found that toughness is the biggest vulnerability someone could have.
When there is no awareness, we could be taught to put up an image in front of the world just to protect our own pettiness.
It is the typical “office world” mentality of “marketing ourselves” to boast about our strengths and to “fake it until we make it.”
That is the world of pressuring ourselves to “succeed.”
Nothing wrong with that world.
Nevertheless, in Life in our relationships with people it is of great importance to show who we are.
A relationship grows in depth as we take off our layers of protection, as we stripe our image and show our vulnerabilities… At that point we are not an ideal anymore, a prototype for everyone to follow…
There is no need to make a list of our own vulnerabilities and to “practice” those in front of loved ones. We just need to allow ourselves to be.
Censorship and rejection could be experienced, and that is fine. We are not supposed to be like everyone else.
That is the first point in self-awareness: Totally acceptance of ourselves; our shadow and our light.
If we have not reached that point, if there is not acceptance, then our interaction with ourselves and others will be a faked one. There will not be fulfillment experienced in relationships as we cannot be ourselves.
When we display our vulnerabilities in awareness, we could know others. For those will be triggers for others to react in judgment, censorship or advice. In turn, that will give us the chance to test our “strength,” meaning our emptiness of “I.”
Without awareness, to display our vulnerabilities will be a source of pain and suffering, for we will feel hurt. That trauma will need to be healed.
The image of the “tough guy” is in vogue. That “toughness” is just meant to conceal the fear of being just who we are. To be tough, we need to set aside our true feelings and with that the opportunity to experience living from the heart.
Vulnerabilities will dissolve in relationship with others, but only for the one who is aware. For the one who is not, it will be the source of belittlement and the need to work on his “image” by building a mental layer of shielding armor.
Emotionally, when our heart is vulnerable, when it is trusting and open, it may get hurt and that is the opportunity to heal through our accumulated strength. It is the perfect chance to see how far we have gone.
If that same heart is tough, hard and closed… not trusting anything…it may not get hurt, because it is already in pain. That is another paradox of Life.
For that closed heart, to live is a fearful experience and to close itself into a small box just to feel safe, is the extent of its “toughness.”
To open our heart despite the possibility of being hurt is an act of courage, and act of affirming the intrinsic necessity to feel Life…and at the same time; the path to experience no-self.
Pain is not to be feared, but transformed. 🙂
“…When you speak of the pacifier that stops the mind’s crying are you speaking of the distractions we give ourselves?
I’m finding my mind too chatty as of late. Is meditation the way to slow that down or is simple awareness of it, all that’s necessary?
My heart says I need space, alone time….would lack of that need get ones mind whirling? At any rate today Im creating and protecting some space for whoever it is in me that needs it.”
Thank you for your question for the common good.
The “pacifier of the mind” is anything that will take the place of the previous object.
For example, the “normal” advice when someone ends a relationship is to replace that one, with another relationship. That is the pacifier.
Typically, the pacifier is used to stop the crying of the mind. To do that is not “bad,” for it accomplishes the task of stopping the baby from crying. It is the “normal” method.
However; crying will be there, every time Life takes away one of our precious “toys.”
For the one who is concerned about inner knowledge, to replace one toy with another is not the answer, but to find out why there is continuous crying of the mind. That takes observation, awareness of the self.
Through awareness, we could observe that there is “conscious awareness,” the ability to observe, to feel, to explore… That is consciousness.
Also there is thought, the script, words, the plot which changes in our favor or against us depending on our mood, our insecurities. All of that drama occurs in what we refer to as the “mind.”
The mind is chatty, judgmental, it makes assumptions based on fractions of facts.
A “normal” typical person will connect their consciousness to that mind first. Thus, the mind will set the tone for the feelings of the heart.
That person cannot know what love is, for the mind has a big filter.
The “I” and the mind are highly related.
To find that our mind is chatty, is a great finding indeed; nevertheless unless our feelings call for the need to “stop and take the time to smell the roses,” then that finding will be just theory without practical use.
When we feel the need to take it easy, relax, unwind, etc. it is at that time, when the mind will be observed as “slowing down.”
That is the clue for more findings.
Eating does not taste the same when we are in a hurry, when the mind is clogged up with thoughts. Any pleasurable activity that we may engage in, cannot be fully enjoyed if the mind is racing to nowhere. Without full enjoyment, any activity will lose its appeal.
We cannot enjoy the “now” for the mind is always in the future or the past.
What is meditation?
For most, a time to do nothing, to close your eyes or open them and repeat a mantra. Even though the mind is still moving swiftly along from cloud 9 into 11!
For others, Life itself is meditation.
Have you ever experienced an intense emotional bout? There you are…lying down, the mind is tired, maybe after intense crying and then, after that release…there is quietness, peace… the “calm after the storm.”
That is the natural way for the self to experience peace, although because we are “mind” conscious; we call that “peace of mind.”
I’d say listen to what your heart is saying: “My heart says I need space, alone time…”
Be there, all alone. No where to go. Paraphrasing what the sage once said: “Alone you will find self and self-realization.”
You could find those hours alone by yourself at a particular time, but then count on finding those hours alone while being with others.
You could find that time alone in Nature, while hearing the sounds of water by the shore, rocks, or even the rain drops. Sounds are extremely important in the physical realm. The rhythms of Nature will bring that natural “slowness” to the mind and so; the sounds of tibetan singing bowls, or the ones of birds chirping at dawn, or the wind blowing through trees. That is sound therapy your mind will appreciate…only when ready.
There is no single answer on “how to slow the mind down.” It is not a “fit all” answer. However, I can assure you there is a process of finding out what works for ourselves, which cannot be delimited by the collective beliefs of our minds.