Lately I have become really intrigued with the obsession of our Western society with food. I have written on other occasions about my own (past) passion for cooking and how it has been changing lately, transforming into something else. Moreover, I feel I am only starting to scratch on the surface of the subject, that seems to be so central to the collective creation of illusions and the compulsive hanging on to something that ultimately does not work.
Don’t get me wrong. I love food and I am fascinated by it. I regard food as provider of the right particles for the body to transform into energy, as well as unfolding their respective qualities to correct any imbalance. Food is nourishment for body and mind, it is medicine as well as matter of deep spiritual symbolism, in terms of cycle of life, transformation and connectedness. To contemplate on a bowl of cereal can lead to significant insights.
What I observe tough is the heightened collective interest in eating. Not only taking in food – no, forever searching for the right kind of food to make us happy, healthy and holy. Media have jumped on the subject, there is a huge variety of books, diets, scientific studies, not so scientific studies, new conclusions, recommendations, all sorts of restaurants, recipes, old wisdom, new fads, intelligent food, vitamins, supplements, nutraceuticals, micro-nutrients and what not.
So the most commonly asked question has to be : “ What should I be eating” ( ….to be more happy, healthy, holy) – and that seems to be a logical conclusion, because we all know that food can contribute to our personal sense of well-being in many ways.
I often work with people having difficulties with weight, digestion or energy. These disturbances are mostly caused by unresolved conflicts, simmering and boiling inside and putting them under a great amount of stress. Stress-hormones change the metabolism and impede digestion and create digestive problems. In addition there are of course many contributing factors like nicotine, alcohol, fast food, not enough exercise, or too much exercise and / or many other unhealthy life-style choices, as well as toxins, the environment, not enough sleep, too much sugar and much more. When I work with someone suffering from symptoms related to digestion and or eating, I often lay them out a whole range of reasons that call for change in terms of creating health. However, it appears that changes of life-style, sanitation of inner conflict or even more exercise are much less popular than the ubiquitous question: “What shall I be eating”.
The seat of the “ego”, or our sense of identity, is the area of the solar plexus, or the third chakra. Energetically this is a tremendously important area, as it is related to the way we see ourselves, our self-esteem, confidence and how we relate to ourselves. The third chakra is associated with many emotions, based on fear and anger, that have to do with not knowing ourselves, but struggling with a made-up image of ourselves in our mind. Virtually all eating disturbances – like anorexia, over-eating or bulimia – are located here, and whenever there are symptoms related to eating, the third chakra has a role to play. The central issues are trust and the confidence to take responsibility for oneself.
So there are many levels and aspects around food and eating, but it appears to me that at the core of our obsession with, it seems really to be a a reflection of a perceived inner lack, something I would call: spiritual starvation.
If we are honest, food has become a habit, frequently a compulsion and very often an addiction. The terms may vary with the perceived level of dependency, but what it suggests is that we have forgotten why we eat in the first place. Ultimately we do eat for sustenance to keep us warm, strong and fit for survival, we re-fuel that marvellous organism of ours and what we need is always close at hand.
The body needs very little for survival and it is able to make do also with a reduced choice of foods. A little carbohydrates, protein and fat, some vitamins and minerals are enough to provide all the substance needed to burn off and create the energy, as well as provide the particles to maintain our human frame and the interior organs.
Eating is not a science. There are no firm rules in terms of how much, how often and which foods or supplements. Healthy eating depends on three conditions: Our individual constitution, the environment and physical activity. The first determines our preference in terms of the type of foods and this changes with age, environmental factors condition the need to re-balance based on outer factors like climate, vegetation and availability, and lastly our need for food depends on how much energy we burn, moving about in our days. Science can give us a lot of reasons and discover many potential relationships and functions, but in the end it is highly individual what kind of food is giving me the nourishment I need at this moment.
A sense of hunger, as well as appetite and satiety are the indicators for quantity and selection.
Ultimately we exist on many levels. There is of course our physical body with it’s need for energy and a supply of atomic building blocks, to constantly renew itself. There is our mind that needs energy to function and to fuel the intellectual processes, as well as linking, connecting and co-ordinating everything. There is our emotional body that is responsible for our feelings and that is closely connected to our conditioning and wether or not we resist something and this too needs energy for a proper functioning. There is also our energetic body that is responsible for keeping us walking about and adapting to our surroundings, providing us with the life force needed to animate the system. And lastly, there is our spiritual body that does not require food in the normal sense, but provides us with a sense of trust and fulfilment, a connection to the whole, that is vital for our wellbeing and happiness, as well as our purpose in life.
It appears to me that in this writing I am laying out several topics to delve further into and explore. The German word for food is “Lebensmittel”, which means literally translated “means of life” and that seems to be a good working title to explore further the collective obsession with food as well as the relation to a spiritual reality in all of us.
I stop here and will continue another time. It is 10:30 am and in case you are wondering what I have been eating today ? So for breakfast I had a cup of coffee, barley flakes cooked in milk, mixed with some dates and almonds and a glass of fresh orange juice. Usually that keeps me going until the late afternoon. No vitamin, supplements or else. Loads of energy and a good mood.
Let’s see what the body wants to eat later.