Soul Food: Spirituality and Nutrition
Lisa Turner.Food writer, nutritional healer
Years ago, I spent a lot of time in an ashram. One of my jobs (besides less-glamorous stuff like cleaning toilets) was to cook in the kitchens. It was lovely. The food was simple, clean, pure; most of our meals were composed primarily of beans, rice and vegetables, but they tasted like the fare of five-star restaurants. I am convinced it was the serenity and open-heartedness of the people cooking, the melodic chants we sang as we stirred. The spirituality of the place entered the food -- or maybe, we became more spiritual because of it.
In a well-known quote from Consuming Passions: The Anthropology of Eating, authors Peter Farb and George Armelagos say, "Food to a large extent is what holds a society together, and eating is closely linked to deep spiritual experiences." Most religions and spiritual paths throughout history have some kind of ritual or rule related to food and eating. Fasting is one practice; in many spiritual traditions, the act of abstaining from food is thought to increase spiritual awareness, achieve the discipline necessary to resist temptations of the flesh, purify the body or atone for evil acts.
And when they do eat, devotees are mindful -- even rigorous -- in their choices. The Hindu dietary regimen, for example, thinks of food as belonging to one of three categories, depending upon its effect on the body and spirit. Tamasic food is overripe, spoiled, stale, processed or canned, and results in dullness, heaviness, sluggishness and lethargy. Rajasic food is spicy, pungent, hot or stimulating, and is related to overactivity, agitation and overstimulation. Sattvic foods -- considered the most desirable -- are pure, fresh and light, and leave us feeling refreshed, clear and alert. These (predictably enough) include fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds and legumes. I think it's moving and elegant that this ideal diet, the one mostly widely recommended for healing, was described in the Bhagavad Gita more than 2,000 years ago.
Other traditions have other rules. Buddhists aren't necessarily vegetarians; Buddha was said to have instructed his disciples to accept whatever food was offered, and that to refuse an offering was to reject the giver (without helping the already dead animal). Careful admonishments were given, however, to avoid eating carelessly: to eat mindlessly, or just for pleasure, is to be moved by selfish temptations.
In Judaism, kashrut is the set of laws defining appropriate foods (in English, it's called kosher), but other, more subtle, spiritual rules also apply. Traditional Jewish teachings believe the body is a gift for which we are responsible; and on a very practical level, an early book of Jewish teachings writes, "It is not possible to understand and become wise in Torah and mitzvot when you are hungry or sickly or when one of your limbs hurts" (2). Practicing Muslims eat allowed foods (halal) and avoid forbidden foods (haram) mentioned in the Qur'an, and are guided by a verse in the Qur'an saying "Eat of the good things We have given you for sustenance, and be not inordinate with respect to them," meaning eat and enjoy -- but not to excess (3).
So how does all of this relate to most of us as eaters, especial those without a particular spiritual belief system or practice? On a simple, practical level, we can adopt some of the practices of other cultures around food. Some of these principles you might consider:
1. Eat mindfully, being aware of the food and your body.
2. Eat for the purpose of nourishing your body; treat your body as a temple.
3. Eat only fresh, clean, light foods, avoiding foods that are processed or canned.
4. Eat only what you need, without overeating or binging on food.
5. Eat for the purpose of bettering yourself spiritually.
As a set of rules for eating -- and living -- it's hard to do better.
1. Consuming Passions: The Anthropology of Eating , by Peter Farb and George Armelagos (Houghton Mifflin, 1980)
2. A Book of Life: Embracing Judaism As a Spiritual Practice, by Michael Strassfeld (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2006), page 74.
3. The Qur'an, translated by M.H. Shakir, (Tahrike Tarsile Qur'an, 1999), chapter 20, verse 81, page 205
Cosmic Energy Healing
Cosmic energy healing is an important facet of spiritual healing and deals with using cosmic energy, which exists in our cosmos. Cosmic energy is referred to as the life force and the energy that maintains the balance of the entire cosmos.
Cosmic energy is also known as the energy of supreme consciousness and intelligence and we are surrounded by it everywhere and all the time. Earth energy is part of it and it's usually recognized as Mother Earth or Gaia.
There are two ways of receiving cosmic energy. We all receive this energy while sleeping but the received energy is not sufficient to maintain the order or balance in our life.
The second way of receiving cosmic energy is by practicing spirituality. The energy received through spirituality is powerful enough to assist in healing through cosmic energy. It helps us to live a healthier and happier life and also drives the expansion and the transformation of our consciousness.
How can I receive Cosmic Energy?
Cosmic energy is abundant in the cosmos. To gather energy you can use chackra breathing exercises or learn energy healing. In my opinion, the best and more simple path to choose for receiving this positive energy is meditation.
Cosmic energy enters through the mind and meditation helps the mind to be more focused to receive it. Cosmic energy enters our individual mind-body system through the chackras and supports the human energy field. In most humans chackras are at least partially closed most of the time because of the distractions in the mind like anxiety, fear, worry, stress and negative emotions.
When you meditate, the mind and body have the tendency to become one. This helps the physical and spiritual self to receive the energy and helps in cosmic energy healing. Experts in cosmic energy healing also suggest that you can channelize cosmic energy through breathing meditation as well.
Breathing meditation helps in bringing calmness in the mind and aids in the development of inner peace. Breathing meditation can be practiced in a quiet place on a daily basis. When your mind is calm, you will be able to receive cosmic energy.
To increase energy in the body quickly you can also focus on breathing through your base chackra and absorb energy from earth. Earth energy healing gives us grounding and helps embodiment. It is certainly a good exercise to support your body.
Reiki is another method of receiving this energy and works on the principles of accessing cosmic energy as well as internal energy.
Transformational Energy Healing is a 360 degrees approach and combines different healing techniques together.
Can Cosmic Energy Really Heal?
Healing through cosmic energy takes place only after you have received this energy from a healer or through your own self. Positive or good energy always helps in healing of the mental, physical, and spiritual self. Cosmic energy can help in healing you from inside out. The human mind and body are inscribed in an energy field that is nourished by cosmic energy. Human activities produce both positive and negative energy and when negative energy increases, we are faced with health problems.
By receiving cosmic energy, you can reduce or remove the negative energy and create a harmony. Some of the physical benefits it gives include:
•It helps in proper blood flow and reduces the workload of your heart
•It helps in lowering lactate and cortisol, which are often associated with stress
•It can help in reducing free radicals
•It creates higher skin resistance and helps in healing cardiovascular diseases
•It helps in removing all psychological issues including depression, anxiety, and irritability
•It enhances the psychological self by increasing the feelings of self-actualization, and rejuvenation
•It also improves memory
In order to enjoy the benefits of cosmic energy healing, you will need to practice meditation and follow spiritual paths that will open the door of your mind toward receiving this life force.
Learn more on the following pages:
Earth Energy Healing
Earth energy is considered an important spiritual energy force and can be received directly from the earth or through any life form rooted to the earth.
Transformational Energy Healing
We are surrounded by positive and transformational energy that can be used for healing, or that probably it is healing itself.