Years ago, I was getting a massage (I was in my early 30’s and deep massage was very painful) and the massage therapist basically said to me, “Your body responds to touch as if you’ve been in a car accident.” I agreed with her. I couldn’t even sit for more than 30 minutes without getting very stiff, and even though I continued to run, my body was in a state of continual hyper-alert and pain.
I started to investigate possible reasons for my pain, and began periods of fasting, cut sugar, caffeine, and flour, out of my diet, drank extra water, and took “detox” herbs. And while all of these things did seem to make me feel better physically, I became even more rigid and afraid. I scanned food labels looking for any trace of an additive or preservative that might throw my system into chaos.
Food, for me, was no longer a way to enjoy and celebrate being alive in this body. It became more or less a regimented thing; an undertaking done for the purpose of “health”, and as a consequence it lost the element of joy. I didn’t realize, at that time in my life, that I was so much more than a body. I considered myself to be more like a “chemical system” (a lot the way that Western medicine views the body) than an energetic one. I didn’t see my body, my physical self, as being energy, and I didn’t realize that while diet did play some part in health, the much larger component of health; physical, mental, and emotional, was not determined by the chemical reactions in my body, or what food I put into it, but by my thoughts.
I was seeking to purify my “outer self” (my body) with the correct food, water, and exercise, but my mind was a mess. I was full of resentments, bitterness, judgements, and criticism, (and so much of this was about myself) so these began to show up in my body as stiffness, stomach aches, headaches, and hyper-sensitivity to pain. Of course I was feeling pain! I was thinking painful thoughts…but I didn’t see this connection at the time.
How wonderful these bodies of ours are. They shows us, with such precision, the predominant tone of our thought life. When my mind is in a joyful state, my body responds to that state. When I am worried and on alert (about anything, including food) my body responds to that state.
People will sometimes ask, “Are you saying that you can just eat junk-food all day and be healthy?”…well, I don’t know. If that was your only option for food, then who knows? But this isn’t our only option, and when I am living in a higher state mentally, I don’t want to eat a continual diet of low energy food. It just doesn’t appeal to me. I don’t have to discipline myself not to eat it, I don’t want it. When I find myself feeling like I really need to resist eating something (that I have determined is bad for me) then I just need to look at my thoughts and I will always find that I’m not in a very good place (mentally).
When we elevate our thought life, healthy choices (selections that are right for us) are clear to us. We could pray, meditate, and eat 100% organic food, day and night, and still be unhappy and unhealthy if we do not clean up our thought life. When we clean up our minds, our bodies follow.
“Our relationship with food, I find, is a microcosm of how we view life, how fearful, how suspicious, how sad we may feel about getting it right, or how we believe we don’t have enough of something, or that there is too much of something else, or whether we can really trust the flow of in and out like the tides, whether we can live with the unknown mystery of All That Is”. Byron Katie