The Living Centre - Eco-Spiritual Education Sanctuary

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Spiritual Nutrition: Feeding the Body, Nourishing the Spirit

"Spiritual Nutrition transcends all cultural borders. It is a part of the original spiritual teachings in every country in the world; in every faith…all the way back to the ancient Essenes and the wisdom of the Rishis masters of India, regardless of our creed or culture. It was given to all of us as a tool, a step on the path to Enlightenment." ~ W.Kacera

For millions of people food instead of being a source of nourishment it has become an area of conflict and confusion- endless weight-loss dramas, eating disorders, cravings, addictions, body image obsessions, and never-ending searches for the 'best' nutritional system.

With the hectic pace of everyday life, most of us have lost our spiritual connection to food. Food has been reduced to "fuel"- a listing of nutritional "value." But the human body is not a machine, and many of the food-related issues that plague us, can be traced to our lack of awareness of the relationship between body and spirit.

No matter how much we work on ourselves spiritually, our diet also plays a very significant role in how we feel. A heavy, chemical-ladened diet can actually make even the lightest spirit feel heavy. On the other hand, certain other types of meals can rapidly boost someone's spirit, mind, and heart. Many spiritually minded people receive intuitive messages to delete certain foods or beverages from their diet. Others on the spiritual path lose their tolerance for low-frequency substances such as coffee or sugar. They develop sudden adverse reactions to ingesting these substances.

SPIRIT: THE MISSING INGREDIENT IN FOOD Food is a dynamic force which interacts with humans on the physical body level, the mind-emotional level, and also the energetic and spiritual level. The study of spiritual living nutrition is the study of the interaction and assimilation of the dynamic forces of food by the dynamic forces of our total being.
We need to explore the fully range of our relationship of nutrition spiritual life, to expand beyond the present definition of nutrition that includes subtle energetic principles.

A FEW QUESTIONS FOR US TO EXPLORE:
  • What is the purpose of nutrition?
  • What is it we call nutrition?
  • What is assimilated?
  • What is that which is assimilating?
  • What is the relationship between the nutrient assimilated and spiritual unfolding?

REFLECTIONS & CONTEMPLATIONS
  • How does your relationship to food obstruct awareness of your spiritual nature?
  • How can food serve as a reminder of your spiritual nature?
  • If you had only one week to live, how would your relationship to food and your body change?
  • If you were reborn tomorrow, what advice would you give yourself about your relationship to food and nourishment?

There are four aspects of food: biological, psychological, spiritual, and social nutrition.

Biological Nourishment: the nutrients in optimal foods have the power to heal and balance physical health.

Psychological Nourishment: food influences mood; conversely, mood, emotions, and feelings often affect food choices

Social Nourishment: dining with others in a pleasant atmosphere affects well-being.

Spiritual Nourishment: eating with an awareness of the mystery of life in food and connecting with it via mindfulness, appreciation, and a loving consciousness may enhance health.

Since the beginning of time food has nourished us multi-dimensionally; it feeds not only the body, but also mind, soul, and social well-being. They are secrets because this understanding has been part of humankind's relationship to food for thousands of years, but in the last century, most of us have lost and forgotten about them.

In North American we got so off track with our relationship to food quiet awhile ago. First, in the 19th century, chemist Wilbur Olin Atwater told us that food is fuel, the body is a machine. About the same time, the industrial revolution gave us refined, processed food. In the late 1800s, Puritan values still predominated in America, which meant that food was often perceived as sinful, or as good and bad; in other words, we projected moral values onto food. Today, we relate to food mostly in terms of how it can be objectively measured. The meaning in food has been stripped away along with its nutrients during processing. Every time you look at a label in the supermarket and you see numbers next to nutrients, you are witnessing the affect of Newtonian science in action.

The best to eat way depends on an individual's personal health and nutritional goals. The way to use nutritional science effectively and optimally is to ask yourself, do you need (or choose) to eat to prevent a health problem for which you are at high risk, to manage an existing health problem, or to reverse an ailment.

Optimal health depends not only on what we eat, but also on how we eat. What we eat has been the singular focus of nutritional science, but how we eat also affects our health and well-being. One healing secret tells us what to eat for optimal health; and the other healing secrets show us how to eat for health and well-being. The healing secrets tell us about how to eat include: feelings, mindfulness, appreciation, connection (love), and socializing. Here is an example of how, let's say, eating mindfully influences health. So many Americans eat while task-stacking: in front of the computer, watching television, driving, and walking down the street, but eating mindfully, being present in the moment with your food, may actually affect the way the food is metabolized and ultimately, your health and well-being. When physician Donald Morse of Temple University did research with female students, he asked them to meditate for 5 minutes before eating, then also to do mental arithmetic for 5 minutes before eating. When the students meditated, they produced 22% more of an enzyme in saliva called alpha-amylase, which helps you break down carbohydrates and B vitamins in food. This suggests that if you eat in a relaxed, mindful, present state of mind, you'll absorb more nutrients, and in this way, may improve health.

MOTIONS, MOOD & FOOD
In the 1970s, Drs. Judith and Richard Wurtman discovered that when animals consumed the carbohydrate-dense foods of potatoes and sugar they released a naturally occurring hormone called serotonin, which calms and relaxes you. Other examples of carbohydrate-rich foods are pasta and bread. On the other hand, low-fat, high-protein foods (such as nonfat yogurt) release another hormone called norepinephrine, which keeps you mentally alert. It's not a stimulant; rather, it simply makes you more alert. The key concept with food mood research, is what is commonly referred to as psychological nutrition, is that food influences emotions, and inversely, that our emotions and feelings often influence our food choices.

SPIRITUAL NUTRITION
Spiritual nutrition is about the mystery of life inherent in both food and human beings. All food contains and gives life, and we human beings are also life giving and life containing. Also, both food and human beings depend on the elements, the sun, the earth and soil, water, and air to live and thrive. Spiritual nutrition acknowledges the interdependence and connection among plants, animals, human beings, and the mystery of life, and connecting to this life force. The way to access and derive the health benefits of spiritual nutrition is to implement the three healing secrets of spiritual nutrition: mindfulness, appreciation, and love, each time you eat.

KEY CONCEPTS
The key concept for optimal health and optimal eating is that what and how you eat hold the keys to physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.

INTEGRATIVE NUTRITION
Integrative nutrition merges Western nutritional science with Eastern healing systems that include nutrition (such as Ayurveda), and also timeless food wisdom (from world religions and cultural traditions). Integrative nutrition is about holistic eating and total nutrition, a relationship with food that is capable of healing body, mind, and soul.

BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN ANCIENT WISDOM & MODERN SCIENCE
Humankind for millennia has turned to food to nourish physical, emotional, spiritual, and social well-being.

KEY POINTS
  • We are more than just a physical body; we are a spiritual source.
  • By nourishing the body, we nourish the spark of life within the body.
  • The body is Sacred and therefore, the nutrition of the body is Sacred.
  • A truly evolved nutritional approach takes us fully into the body and beyond the body,
  • Our relationship to food teaches us a great deal about who we are and how we live.

"To receive the most subtle particles in the food, you must be fully conscious,
wide awake, and full of love.
If the entire system is ready to receive food in that perfect way,
then the food is moved to pour out its hidden riches…when food opens itself,
it gives you all that it has in the way of pure, divine energies."
-O. M. Aivanbov

"When we look at nutrition from a purely scientific point of view, there is no place for consciousness. And yet, consciousness could be one of the crucial determinants of the metabolism of food itself."
~ Deepak Chopra., M.D.

Peace Be With You!
 
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