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  • avyakt7- New Generation 1:11 PM on June 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , culture, diet, , meat, , ,   

    Diet and Spirituality 

    In this article, I will share my Life experience with diet. Food is an important source of nourishment at many levels. If I was to concentrate just in the physical body, this article could be like many out there: “Eat this and that. It has many vitamins and few calories and will help you fight this disease,” or “Eat this to build muscle and strength. It will help you in your later years.” This article will be a bit different.

    In the Brahma Kumaris and the Indian “spiritual” culture in general, there is the belief that there are 3 main groups of food items: Sato Gunee, Rajo Gunee and Tamo Gunee, which could be loosely translated as: Best, middle and low quality food, respectively. There are many food items which in their belief, fall under these categories. Accordingly, each category has a distinct influence on the mind and emotions of a person. Meat is considered “tamo gunee” or lower kind, for instance. These words, sato, rajo and tamo will be used in many other distinctions to classify different things, which will end up classifying persons.

    Therefore, in the spiritual circles it has been regarded that someone who eats meat is less developed spiritually, creating yet another division among people.

    If someone eats meat, is that one less “spiritually” developed than some who doesn’t?

    First, we cannot generalize. Second, it depends on what we call “spiritual.” Life is not about divisions, but integration. Just as when we could see that first grade is not inferior than high school, but it is a necessary first stepping stone, the foundation. Similarly is with any human activity and specially with consciousness. Why have set levels when it is a continuation? To illustrate this, I will go into a bit of my own eating history.

    My conditioning early in Life was coming from a Catholic, meat eater, chauvinistic, predominantly macho culture in a third world country, where having a tasty good meal is a great source of pleasure. Nothing to be ashamed of. Here, there are restaurants everywhere and a great variety of food items. Those are part of my “roots.” There are positive and negative aspects in every culture.

    It is said: “ You are what you eat.” That is a huge misunderstanding. In my experience, “ As you ARE, so is what you eat.” The issue is that most want to follow someone who they admire as a “saint,” specially in Spirituality. For example: “Buddha didn’t eat meat and he was a self realized sage. I want to be like him. Conclusion: I should not eat meat.”

    The firm follower will stop eating meat. His spiritual peers will congratulate him for such brave, outstanding, firm decision. However, that neophyte was violent with himself. Let us hope that he will remember that experience later in Life, for it will catch up with him.

    One day, someone gave me a magazine from the “Hare Krishna.” There was a picture of a man with a face of a wolf who was about to kill a cow with something like a machete. The cow was desperately trying to cut the rope going through its neck to save its life. That picture influenced me so much, that right there I decided not to eat meat again. Somehow, I put myself into the cow’s shoe. Somehow, I felt its pain and desperation. Somehow, I sensed that something wasn’t right. I was 17 at that time, living in the setting described above. No vegetarian places around except the Hare Krishna. No activists defending animals at that time. That picture changed me without a hint of repression. Of course, that change brought some free problems for me, as I had to say “ I don’t eat meat” while the rest couldn’t understand such craziness. I haven’t eaten cow meat since.

    After many years of not eating meat or any flesh at all, I ate fish for a couple of years because I was into bodybuilding although my health wasn’t tolerating fish very well. I forced myself to eat, encouraged by the sight of muscles growing. That is another form of self violence in the name of following petty dreams. That was in part, the influence and conditioning of living in a first world country; a different culture which values “big and a lot,” individualism, wealth, competition and comfort; where quick, easy to get artificial food with sugary ‘taste’ surrounds people everywhere.

    After that experience, I met the Brahma Kumaris and embraced yet another culture from the Eastern world: Highly devotional, less affluent and with deep social hang ups and gender inequalities. Do we see how the cultural set up has a huge influence in the make up of a person? Do we see how life itself took me to the extremes of the flesh eating experience?

    Being vegetarian with the Bks was nothing new for me. Their diet allowed milk, but it did not allow eggs. That was a sacrifice for me. I loved the taste of eggs. No wonder, when I left the BK movement, I went through a binge of eggs in all forms. The BK Murli (Bk readings) states: “Those who leave here become worse than before.” My binge on eggs probably fits that description. However, that popular Murli phrase does not say “why.” Here is my “why,” after having gone through it: Because a repression or a sacrifice coming through reasoning of the mind, is not effective. Sooner or later the explosion will happen and “hell will go loose.” There are many brilliant reasons not to eat eggs to convince the mind, but a repression is not of the mind. Here, and article about the egg episode. The same could happen with any repression: Sex, sleep, beliefs and a large etc.

    There are people who need to eat meat to be healthy. It is part of their genetics. However, that does not mean that they have license to indulge in meat every day. It will hurt them. It will hurt our environment. That is the type of social responsibility and balance which they need to be aware of, and hopefully; they will feel that empathy for humanity as I felt for that cow’s picture many years ago. Empathy, compassion… those traits are necessary. Why some do not have them? Because they are too busy only self absorbed in themselves.

    As an athlete, I ate more than what I needed just to be able to have energy to practice my sport ( I was into running, biking and swimming at that time.) The hardest part is to cut off, once the athlete identity is gone. We need to be AWARE that our food needs have changed. Most people will not, and the once athlete may become overweight. Most humans are habitual creatures. To be AWARE implies to awaken from practicing hurtful habits.

    Do we see that it isn’t necessarily what we eat but the AWARENESS of remaining in balance, in harmony combined with sentiments of kindness for all what makes a difference? Everyone has different needs according to traditions, health, age, consciousness. Therefore, it makes no sense to make a list of what to eat and what not. Someone said: “Everything with moderation.” However, for me that word, moderation; is not a synonym of enjoyment. Moderation is of the mind. Balance is not.

    My friend Mathias told me one time:” The most important part while eating is to feel gratefulness .” In the human world, we pay too much attention to food items, quantities and calories. We believe that we know what is good for us because someone published a particular study and has a degree. We are happy to repeat what the “expert” found. We don’t dare to find out by ourselves and go through it without previous conclusions.

    At this point in my Life, I have a vegan diet (No animal products including eggs and milk.) However, I don’t appreciate being labeled as “vegan.” I am not a label or represent one. I could change anytime and go away from that definition. Vegan food is what is good for me now. My diet changes according to the weather, the seasons. I smell my food very often like a dog. That tells me if I should eat it or not. It is not my mind making decisions by counting calories. There is no “decision.” My body tells me something, and I follow that.

    In Life we need to be open to try different things and so it is for food items. Our food should be tasty and wholesome. There is also the need for emotional food once in a while: Once a year I may drink a small “coke/ pepsi” so the “child inside” is happy, for as a child that was my emotional food to “feel good.” Junk food once in a blue moon is part of that balance. Other than that isolated episode, there is good-old tasty water for me.

    There are no “good” or “bad” food items. There is a harmonious self, in balance with our environment. You health, your body, your outlook in Life, your enjoyment, your zest for Life, those will tell you if what you are eating is right for you.

    In Life, Balance is not a formula. It is a constant being AWARE. The “equalizer” in Life, changes according to the song that is being played and not according to our belief or dogma that things should be unchanged.

    So… I am vegan like the Buddha! No. I am not vegan. I did not follow the Buddha. I merely followed the experiences that Life gave me and the signals I received in Life. It was a process not a ‘decision.’ In that process I learned about repression and self violence. I also learned about social responsibility and the meaning of compassion and empathy. That learning wasn’t theoretical. I did not get just words from someone. I experienced those teachings myself and became AWARE of them. Now, I know. Observe the process in my own lifetime. Some could say: “it is better to be born in a vegan family.” Not necessarily. Someone who is experienced in both sides of a duality, know the full range of that experience. That is needed to grow in consciousness.

    Finally, for me spiritually is about AWARENESS. To be awake means to be conscious and that entails to know how the outside influences the inside and how our beliefs, dogmas, traditions and cultural backgrounds, do not allow us to be free.

    That is the paradox of freedom.

     
  • avyakt7- New Generation 5:10 AM on January 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , diet,   

    BK food items (2) 

    This article will follow up on a previous one, here (https://avyakt7.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/question-on-bk-food-items/) Notice that almost 4 years have gone by.

    Avyakt7-ng hasn’t been eating eggs for about a month now.
    In my first article, it was mentioned that I loved the taste of eggs before becoming a BK and that was one of my repressions. After I left the BK path, I started eating eggs again. Many of them. There is a Murli point which refers to this “symptom.” It says something like “once someone leaves the BK path, that one will become worse than before… “ In this case, all the eggs I did not eat due to complying with the ideal of “purity,” were a repression waiting to catch up. Thus, in 4 years my desire to eat eggs had its own curve to follow.

    So how did I “decide” to “quit”?
    I did not. That wasn’t a “decision.” Typically when I go shopping, I will ask my gut feeling if the perishable item that I intend to buy is good for me. In the case of eggs, there is a selection of many cartons to pick from and some of them may not be suitable for me. Moreover, I asked if I needed to eat more eggs, and the response was a “no.” Then, I simply followed that. I don’t feel that I miss eggs. It is not an “effort” for me not to eat them. No repression. I don’t use my mind to “make decisions.” I use my gut feeling. Am I making a “decision” then? Not really. I am not choosing.

    Do I keep this “pure behavior” according to BK path (not eating eggs) until I die?
    No! There is no mental ideal here. If tomorrow I feel like eating eggs, I may. However, I am not looking for them or pretending that I like them or dislike them. Life is change, ideals are not. That is something to be aware of. “God” may have said (or someone may have interpreted) something 70 years ago. It doesn’t mean that it is valid today.

    So eggs are gone in my diet, but also diary. No cheese or milk. I am not looking for them; although I may eat them if they are given to me in a meal. Naturally, those items are no longer needed in my diet and I don’t need to label that as “purity” or “satopradhan” diet. Diet is not about increasing my ego through “good” labels, but it is about feeling well, in balance.

    Avyakt7-ng’s diet is mostly simple food items. Three of 4 days of the week I will cook for myself, very simple food, nothing fancy or elaborated. I eat lots of brown rice. Once a week I will go to a vegan restaurant to change the taste and feed myself “emotionally,” as the taste is quite good.
    What do I drink? Most of the time “pure” water. Other times natural made juices (I use a blender to mix the fruits, no sugar added) or just recently, almond milk (I blend it with a banana) from the supermarket, unsweetened.

    My regular amount of food has diminished as well.

    Am I following a diet or a spiritual practice to eat in that way?
    No. It is just natural for me.
    If Avyakt7-ng were to become a “guru,” then followers would say: Avyakt7-ng eat little and simple food. That helped him to reach a “higher” spiritual stage. I must DO the same.
    That is a very inaccurate interpretation. A cassock does not make a priest, but rather a priest will wear a cassock.

    Thus, my diet is “purer” (less animal byproducts) now than a typical BK diet. How about that?
    When eating, the most important item is the feeling of gratefulness. If the mind is full of rejections, if it “thinks” to be dirty, unworthy or to be a “sinner” due to the food items taken, then for sure that food will not be enjoyable and will send mixed signals.

    What is natural cannot be a repression. If we try to follow unnatural things for us, then there will be repression. This is another item to check in our list of self- knowledge.
    The BK path for sure, will give us plenty of examples of what a repression is. We will find out not by looking up the dictionary for a definition, but by living it.

     
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