Feeding the soul

I have come to realise that feeding the soul and feeding the body are very closely linked. Living in Asia, eating the wrong thing can have disastrous consequences. Sometimes such things are triggered by unforeseeable factors in the environment, and they can’t be predicted. But whenever I face problems related to food and eating, it always reminds me of the same thing: food is sacred. If you treat it that way.

I used to eat meat and fish, but became a vegetarian some years ago after feeling very disturbed about the kind of meat I was eating. Now I see that being vegetarian is not enough. It’s about the way we regard food. If it is prepared with love, care and with consideration/gratitude for Mother Nature, then it will sustain us. If it is made carelessly, hatefully, angrily, and eaten with haste or greed, then it could wreak havoc.

Sometimes it’s too late – you already consumed the wrong thing – and your system is acting against you. Sometimes you ate the right things but something went wrong, perhaps you got stressed or there was a sudden climate change which made you ill. Another thing I’ve learned is that the border between comfort and discomfort is a spiritual exercise. I would certainly not recommend self-punishment in any way, that’s not what I mean. Self-punishment is calculated and dishonours Mother Nature’s role in balancing things. Facing pain and pleasure as part of life shows acceptance of nature and resilience of the spirit to become strong, to survive. What I mean is that when life puts you in difficulty, you have to call upon all your resources to deal with it. And in dealing with it, you experience life as a vital force, here and now.

So, I am going to try and eat foods in a way that will feed my soul, and if something makes me react badly, then I will deal with it in the knowledge that ‘every cloud has a silver lining’, and this temporary pain will reveal the resilience of my spirit to carry on, for the spirit is imperishable.

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Spirituality, not religion

Many people believe that being spiritual is the opposite of enjoying life. They think that being spiritual means denying one’s self of pleasure.

Whilst it’s true that spirituality encourages a person to accept pleasure and pain as part of the same system – the system of transitory sensations which cannot last – this does not mean that enjoying simple pleasures is wrong. And it does not mean that we need to invite pain into our lives on purpose.

Perhaps some religions do encourage penance, self-punishment and self-denial of simple pleasures. But spirituality is often the opposite of traditional religious practices. Religion is political; spirituality is personal. Religious comes from somewhere outside of us and asks us to follow a system; spirituality comes from within and asks us to follow the deepest, purest part of ourselves.