This food topic came about as right now, I am undergoing through a 9-day process called Nirahaara Samyama which is an ancient yogic technique to go beyond hunger and thirst. This process aims to help human beings explore and discover their possibility to be without any external input like food and water. This process is about awakening our body’s capability to produce food and energy from sun rays, prana and ether. We had this natural intelligence to create food directly from sun rays and ether but we have forgotten this bio-memory. When this bio-memory is awakened, we will feel highly energetic for no reason without any external food intake. Interestingly through this process, I began to have a deeper understanding about our mental patterns related to food.
The truth is – when it comes to food, we enter into an emotional zone within us i.e. the sticky part of us. We develop many deep mental patterns by associating our fear, greed & idea of love with food. As a newborn baby, we receive nourishment from our mother in a form of milk. That forms the first pattern of associating food with love. If someone shares with us a square meal, we feel this person loves us. In almost all cultures, food is highly associated with emotion of LOVE. For e.g. in Chinese or Indian cultures, whether it is sharing of joyful celebrations or sad occasions like death or loss, food is always one major part of these events. Food equals love and love equals food.
However, this pattern of relating food as love can easily turn into hatred when food becomes poison in our body because of our unconscious fear or greed. I find that living in a city like Singapore, food is constantly in our face 24/7 with all kinds of advertisement and promotions. In Singapore, every nook and corner is a hawker center, coffee shop or shopping mall. So much so that one of the national pre-occupations of Singaporeans is eating. No wonder, the obesity rate in Singapore has increased significantly from 6.9% in 2004 to 10.8% in 2010 according to statistics by National Health Survey.
Seriously, if we look at the trend around the world in both developed or developing countries, the humanity is suffering with 2 problems – eating too much and eating unnecessarily. In fact, over-eating has become a modern disease. In the recent report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Feb 2012, they found that more people living in the developed world are obese than ever before, they estimated about 500 million people worldwide are obese, or 1 out of every 10, is obese. United States, by far, has the highest obesity rate in the world – about 30.6% of its total population!
There are several reasons why we over-eat:-
- Over-eating is an expression of greed. We have never learnt to eat only what we need. We are so driven by our sense pleasures to indulge ourselves such that we have lost touch with our body intelligence. We are not firm on eating only what we require and how much we need.
- Sometimes, we over-eat as a substitute to fulfil other unattainable wants. We eat to fill the emptiness inside us i.e. non-fulfilment or low mood. We feel something needs to be dumped inside to keep us filled and full.
- Eating without awareness also contributes to over-eating. Often, we have no idea of what we eat. When we eat we talk, we read, we watch TV and we do many other things. We do everything except focus on the food we eat. We have little respect for the food we eat, then we wonder why we start accumulating fat around the waistline.
- Wrong food habits such as eating too much junk food, processed food or food high in sugar level instead of eating wholesome healthy food.
- Skipping meals when we become too busy or we try to suppress the hunger pangs but often we actually end up over-eating.
When we over-eat, it is as if we are treating our body like a trash bin. The most damaging part is we will have to waste a lot of our body’s resources in processing it. The excess food is wasted in the body because our body has no use of it and it sits in our body as fat. We are exhausting our body’s resources in processing the extra food. If we over-eat, food becomes a waste. Food can become a poison. So it is better to decline excess food than to consume it
As a civilisation, we have lost our respect for food. The number of food related disorders like anorexia, bulimia, obesity or compulsive eating is just symptoms of this love-hate relationship with food. When we don’t have the right understanding and awareness, we become slaves to our sense pleasures.
In the Vedic culture, food is regarded as God – the Lord of Creation, because it is with the help of food that living beings are nurtured and able to stay alive. Therefore, nourishment should be treated with great respect.
The ancient yogis went a step further by working with the body. They discovered that by the nature of our body intelligence, it can directly produce whatever it wants from the pancha bhootas (5 elements) – the ether, air, sun rays (the fire representation), from water, from the ground. Our body is capable of just imbibing whatever it wants directly. We may need to support little with whatever grows in the earth like little grains and vegetables. Otherwise our body is independently intelligent enough to run by itself. Of all the 5 elements, we just need to supply only what is required for one element – the earth. In the modern world, we have lost touch with this knowledge.
Oh humanity, it is time we get back by healing this unhealthy relationship with food. Let’s infuse awareness to this body intelligence and treat food with respect. Namaste.