My personal practice of meditation has been deepening quite substantially in the last six months or so and my experiences of non-causal joy, peace and love that I connect with during meditation are more profound. Subsequently, I have come to really enjoy meditation and really look forward to it.
I tend to squander and numb my experiences in meditation of joy and contentment with food. Anyone who has meditated for a consistent time period will agree that when the body is digesting food, or when the stomach and/or colon are full, meditation tends to be far more shallow and the mind is more easily distracted by the sensations and activity in the body. In other words, we are not as easily able to go beyond the body and mind as is the intention for meditation. My experience has shown this to be true.
Over time, the experience of deep presence has increased in importance to me. It has been long in coming, most of the time, I’m not willing to compromise the experience of presence for eating compulsively. The less I have in my system, the deeper my meditation is likely to be, and so I am slowly but surely letting go of habits that are contradictory.
The experience of deep peace, love, and happiness that bubbles up from meditation is not something to be compartmentalized to the actual meditation, nor should it be or is it meant to be. However for most of us spiritual-path-novices, it is that way, at least initially. Our spiritual connectedness tends to be experienced only when we are in meditation, yoga, fasting, kirtan, chanting, or another practice which opportunes spiritual inspiration. We often lose the sense of connection after a time period. We go back to our patterns, our old ways of being that are unsupportive.
My spiritual sensitivity stays high if I eat light. However, as soon as I eat when I am not hungry, overeat, or eat foods which induce a chaotic-circus experience within my body (such as too much food with sugar content or too much cacao), I immediately notice the dampening and numbing of that connection. Do I still do it anyways? Yes. Is it decreasing slowly, due to my increasing priority to maintain the experiences I have in meditation? Yes.
I have come to understand my relationship to food as one of the most profound platforms for me to demonstrate my commitment to maintaining presence and to my spiritual path, rather than simply saying or thinking that I am committed or that I am a spiritual person. The real task is to integrate my heightened experiences of consciousness into my day-to-day, normal activities, and to work on the reasons I sabatoge spiritual integration with food. When I feel drawn to eat compulsively, I am getting more consistent in asking myself, “Is this worth dampening my feeling of connectedness?” “Can I let go of the compulsion to eat this food right now, and do something else that will make me feel good, because I prioritize my spiritual growth?” I am getting more consistent at authentically answering, “No.” to those questions.
Now. Let’s always remember compassion, kindness, and gentleness. While sometimes we make choices that compromise our connection and sabatoge the quality of our spiritual practices, it is no reason to beat ourselves up. It is what it is, and we are where we are in our evolution of consciousness. We can’t force a desire for meditation or relationship with God if it is not yet truly there, and we cannot force it to unfold faster than it is. As we deepen our consciousness, it is natural that we will desire peace, contentment and joy more than we will desire food. Along the way, it is reasonable to give ourselves, with the utmost compassion and non-attachment, the challenge to choose the Divine rather than to choose to repeat our disconnecting patterns.
It may take a while, and that’s ok. It may be inconsistent, and that’s ok too. As long as we are moving forward, little by little.