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  • avyakt7- New Generation 1:11 PM on June 2, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , culture, , food, 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 3:33 AM on September 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , food, , ,   

    Food and Spirituality 

    There are already many articles on BK food items and Vegetarianism, here:

    https://avyakt7.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/question-on-bk-food-items/

    https://avyakt7.wordpress.com/2020/01/29/bk-food-items-2/

    https://avyakt7.wordpress.com/2019/02/27/on-vegetarianism-and-veganism/

    As humans try to separate things into “departments,” (food, spirituality, sex, etc.) and believe that every department is its “own boss,” many “moral” issues come up.

    A human being at this time is violent. That violence will impregnate what he does, what he thinks, what he IS. A violent human will eat accordingly: Many times by giving suffering to others who are defenseless. That sort of cowardice goes along with violence.

    There is also a kind of more sensitive human who even though violent, will use his mind and sensibility to act in certain way, he will abstain (repress) from eating something to be congruent with his beliefs; for example vegetarianism.

    “Vegetarianism is the practice of abstaining from the consumption of meat, and may also include abstention from by-products of animal slaughter. Vegetarianism may be adopted for various reasons. Many people object to eating meat out of respect for sentient life.”

    That Google definition precisely includes the practice of repression out of some moral value. However, violence of such person will be there and it could manifest in supporting a “good” cause: Veganism or Vegetarianism by fighting with others to have their ideal considered and adapted by society.

    Many “Spiritual” people will have inner fights in “choosing” what food items are “more spiritual” and consistent with their beliefs.

    It is my experience now, that what you ARE dictates what you eat. It is not the opposite, which is what most would like to believe. If someone becomes a BK follower that person will adopt the belief of lacto- vegetarianism. If that person was a meat eater, he will have a repression to adapt to. If that person was a vegan before, then he will have a problem when BK food brings milk as a “pure” food item to consume.

    We may acknowledge that human violence is out of control, and there are many animals suffering at this time due to that violent behavior which is masked through the “need” for profit. We need to consider that human consciousness is complex and diverse: There are many willing to help astray animals from dying but at the same time don’t hesitate eating a burger or milk and eggs to support their death. That “moral” inconsistency is observed many times: For instance countries with a high value for patriotism through organized killing in the name of protecting a country or an ideal, at the same time may profess a religious belief prohibiting killing human beings. Typically, these unaware individuals are too busy “making money,” watching tv, and reproducing themselves, that is “being successful.”

    There are people who believe that to “fight” with another group is the solution to change society’s values. They want to DO something NOW. However, repression will be there for certain groups to endure and that repression is a form of oppression which will explode at another time, causing further violence. As there are many types of people, “the actors must play their parts” and align with what they ARE.

    Change to be natural, takes some time. It is a process of realizing things for ourselves. Change does not happen in the adoption of a belief. As long as violence is lingering in the human consciousness, anything a human does, will have that trademark, even a belief system could be violent.

    From food items to eat, we ended up in the observation of our own consciousness; for that is the origin which we may need to consider to live harmoniously. Hopefully in this journey, we may find the true meaning of Compassion, which may be the ultimate answer to mankind violence.

     
  • avyakt7- New Generation 12:30 PM on June 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , eating, eggs, food, garlic, , onions,   

    Question on BK food items 

    “Your thoughts and experience on BK’s code of conduct on food? How important is food in our spiritual progress?”

    Thank you for your question.
    In BK knowledge it is said: “As it is your food, so your mind.”
    That is good to be aware of until you discover that “you” are not “your mind.” Just as “you” are not “your” arm.

    BK Knowledge will give us the basics for food to avoid, which will have a distinct impact on our minds; but that only depends on where you are in your spiritual path.

    What you ARE goes along with what you need to eat and that may change. To say: “Brahma Baba was lacto vegetarian, so I must be that” is to forget about who you ARE now.
    For instance, Ahnanda eats vegetables and fruits, also eggs but he does not take any dairy products unless they come in the food already. Ahnanda does not eat meat, not because it is bad, tamopradhan food, but because Ahnanda’s system does not need it at this time. His BEING does not agree with that at this time. Ahnanda eats garlic and onions when they are included in the food he is eating.

    Eggs, garlic and onions could have some effect in Ahnanda’s mind; but Ahnanda is not his mind. At the same time, garlic and onions are powerful antioxidants which makes them a protection against heart conditions and cancer. Eggs has needed protein as well as good taste (I love their taste and that was one of my repressions as a BK,) which is necessary to enjoy Life.

    Everything that Nature offers is “good,” but we need to learn when to use those items.
    At one time Ahnanda inhaled mold by living in a place with scarce ventilation during his time as a BK. Mold affects your lungs. What was the cure?
    To eat raw garlic for a few days and to take apple cider as well. Those natural remedies cured me from my breathing difficulties.

    To break my belief at that time that “garlic is bad, it will make me lustful” was a necessary step to get well.
    From that experience, I learned to be grateful to Life and the natural remedies that it provides.

    Thus, the consciousness while you are eating something is more important that what you are eating.
    A consciousness with gratefulness affects who I AM, the feelings that make me who I AM.

    Ahnanda prepares most of the time his own food, but he also eats in restaurants with gratefulness and enjoys his food.
    Yes, it is important to prepare food in a good state, but not because someone DOES a practice such celibacy or any other, is a guarantee that their stage is “good” and the food “pure.” That person may be repressing, upset, sad, etc; which will in turn affect more sensitive persons.
    Being grateful of what you eat is key for our spiritual “improvement.” Being sensible of what to eat, when to eat, where to eat and how much to eat; is the key to maintain a balanced, nourished body.
    To realize that we are constantly changing is to be aware that our needs will change as well, in that way mental beliefs will be used only as long as they are useful for us.

    That wisdom requires awareness.

    For the common good.
    This is the second part of this article: https://avyakt7.wordpress.com/2020/01/29/bk-food-items-2/

     
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