food and love, part 2

Gilbert went to an ashram in India and studied, meditated, and prayed as a follower of a Guru. At first I was skeptical of the Guru idea, but in Eastern traditions, a person is so committed to devotion to God that she may obtain a tremendous amount of education, and spend many hours a day meditating and seeking to know God, for a lifetime. (Think Buddhist monks, or the Dalai Lama.) Do you think God could hide from someone that loyal, who wants sacred connection that much–regardless of what her “religious affiliation” is?

How many of us do that here in the Western world? As for myself, I am running around like a headless chicken most of every day. I consider myself at my spiritual zenith when I read scriptures for a little while, say a two-minute prayer, ponder a bit in the car or at yoga, and go to church on Sunday.

So regardless of your religious belief, you have to be impressed at that kind of commitment to finding a spiritual center. Everything out of the mouths of the Gurus Liz studied seems very true to me, even profound. I would love to go to an ashram for three months. Unlike Liz, though, I’ve got these four kids to feed and haul to school and soccer practice. By myself. So, I hope to find my own unique path to the same place.

One teaching of all the Gurus, one constant at all the ashrams, is vegetarian meals. If someone cannot access spiritual experiences, the Guru asks, “How is your digestion?” Don’t gulp your food, she says. Eating light meals consisting of plants (and not animals) is critical for spiritual enlightenment. Gilbert, having come from a decadent three months in Italy eating everything in sight and putting 20 lbs. on her divorce-gaunt frame, noticed a dramatic difference in her ability to access sensitive spiritual experiences, eating the ashram’s vegetarian fare. You simply can’t sit for hours to meditate, she says, if your body is struggling with digestion.

She sheds obsessions (about broken relationships, mistakes, denied wants) that had taken over her thought processes. She is able to quiet her mind and tune into her spirit. She experiences profound, undeniable phenomena that remind her that she is more than just human, that she is connected to God. She overflows with positive emotion towards others that she’s never experienced before.

Granted, lots of meditation and a pure intent to have these experiences play a big role. But have you noticed that a lightness in your body, in your gut, results in lightness in your mood? I have commented on this before on this blog. Many times when I have been eating all-raw for a while (which I often do for days or weeks at a time), I experience sustained periods of such joy, energy, compassion, generosity, and pure love for literally everyone, including strangers, that I ask myself this question:

“Why don’t I do this ALL the time?”

What is your experience with this?