Health and the spiritual journey Monday

It was always my intention to include posts here on the health side of my journey and in the early days I posted periodically on that topic. I’ve drifted away from writing about it more than occasionally but several recent conversations have led me to think I should go back to my original intent.

We are all mind and body and spirit and from early in my journey I’ve realized that the ongoing issues with my health both reflected issues in the emotional/mental realm and impeded progress in the spiritual realm. Several people who consider themselves to be on a spiritual journey have expressed that they didn’t consider their physical health to have anything to do with spiritual life.  That came as a shock to me and I’ve been contemplating it ever since.

I think of the body as the temple that houses the soul. In the Hindu tradition (among many – I just know a bit more…) a big percentage of practices for achieving divine connection have to do with the physical, whether it’s balancing chakras through hatha yoga or cleansing practices (the shat kriyas) or pranayama. Certainly there are people who transcend incurable ailments to become enlightened, but when a person who is capable of being healthy keeps his body in a state of imbalance and/or disease I think that lack of attention to aligning the physical will hamper the path to higher consciousness.

I think health is such an important piece of the spiritual journey that I’ve decided to try out doing a post about it every Monday (bear in mind that I keep odd hours so it might show up anywhere from 11 p.m. Sunday night to 3 a.m. Tuesday morning). Because diet is a key component, I’m re-posting an old one that explains my philosophy:

Mind, body and spirit are, of course, inextricably linked.  Most people on a spiritual journey seem to wind up also on a journey about healthy eating.  The hardest part of the food journey is figuring out WHAT IS HEALTHY?  Because of my health issues, I’ve been seeing alternative practitioners for more than a quarter of a century and believe me I’ve heard a ton of opinions about eating.  I also have many friends who are obsessed with healthy eating and they’re all sure they know what it takes to eat a healthy diet.  I have a little different take and I hope it helps.

Here are a few basics I’ve learned.  First, for every theory about food and whether it’s good for you or bad for you, the opposite theory probably also exists and several dozen theories that land at points in between.  Second, there is no theory that applies to everyone.  Third, eat fresh fruits and vegetables — it’s about the only suggestion that shows up on virtually every list.  Whether the fruits and veggies need to be raw or cooked is a whole other issue.  Fourth, you have to learn what works for you and be prepared to buck practitioners who push another theory.

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9 thoughts on “Health and the spiritual journey Monday

  1. I look forward to a weekly health blog. I agree it is a big part of the spiritual journey and like your open mindedness about it. I love fruit, but not veggies as much. I’ve started making green drinks where the taste of the kale and spinach is hidden by the fruit to get in my daily requirement. Still have some work to do on treating my body as the temple it is.

  2. I’m often asked by patients to recommend a diet, but I usually advise them pretty much exactly what you say here. We are all different so there’s no one diet to rule them all!
    Best thing to do is become aware. To pay attention. What effects do different foods have on you? Your body and your mind. And what’s your relationship to food? Are there patterns there for you to see?
    I also think the less processed food you eat the better……but that’s just because I’m pretty skeptical about the industrialisation of farming and food production.
    I once read a great article in a French magazine about diet. Instead of talking about food at all, it talked about the experience of eating. Where are you eating what you’re eating? What’s the physical environment like? What are the aesthetics of the meal? Appearance, colours, smells, textures, both of the food itself and the table, the tableware, the place? Who are you sharing the meal with? You can see where this train of thought is leading…….I thought it was a nice, and different perspective. Less utilitarian than most diet advice!

    • Can we clone you and make a few thousand more doctors like you? And yes, I’ve thought for a long time that besides the extreme moderation on how much they eat, that the French stay slim in part because they make meals such a ritual and occasion so they’re filled up with many more good things than just food.

Please add your thoughts; love a good discussion!

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