During one of my classes we talked about how to love. I used a Dharma talk from the Vietnamese Monk Thich Nhat Hanh. It brought a lot of insight and wonderful understanding about the many influences (on self-love and love) we have because of the different kinds of foods we consume every day.
Ever thought about the idea, without even being aware, we consume four kinds of food every day. And these sources can make (or keep) us healthy or can toxify us.
This four kinds of food we feed ourselves are:
- Eatable food (that what we put in our mouths to nurture our bodies)
- Sensory food (what we smell, taste, hear, feel and touch)
- Volition / Desire (the motivation and intention that fuels us)
- Consciousness (this includes our individual consciousness and our environment).
Our body is the temporary temple of the soul. How do you treat your temple (body, mind) and your soul?
Nearby the place I live we have a huge, luxury, treatment center for people who are addicted to alcohol and drugs. And as everybody knows there are many, many addictions. Smoking, eating too much or too fat, an overload of coffee, and the last couple of years internet and our addiction to our tablets and I-phones.
Maybe it’s strange to say and many therapist will tell me I am wrong. But can it be addictions have everything to do with how you manage (or actually are not able or willing to manage) your own life? Are you in charge of your own life? So who is the boss of living your life?
And this four kinds of food have everything to do with this.
If we eat with moderation, eating only the foods that help our bodies to be strong and healthy, then we’re showing love and respect for our own bodies and for the Earth. This does not say you need to be a vegan or vegetarian or what else. It also does not say once in a while you cannot eat French fries with a hamburger. It’s just a matter of being more aware, more conscious of what you are eating and why.
We consume sensory impressions with our eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind. When we read a magazine we consume. When we watch a television program we consume. Being the whole day on Facebook, Weibo, or whatever other means on the internet, we consume.
Whatever we consume affects our body and mind. If we consume toxic magazine articles, movies, video games, etc., they will feed our craving, our anger, and our fear.
If we set aside time each day to be in a peaceful environment, to walk in nature, or even just to smell and look at a flower or the sky, then that beauty will penetrate us and feed our love and our joy.
The energy that keeps you alive is your desire, your hope, your aspiration. You want to be someone. You want to do something with your life (I guess). If you are motivated by compassion and love, your volition will give you the energy and direction to grow and become even more loving and compassionate.
If your desire is to possess or to win at all costs, this kind of volition is toxic for you (and your environment). It’s a matter of trying to know and to understand yourself on a deeper level.
The fourth source of nourishment is collective consciousness and individual consciousness. Our individual consciousness is influenced by the collective consciousness of our environment. Is your environment, the place where you live, the workplace, the right one for you to flourish?
We absorb and reflect what is around us. If we live in a place where people are angry and violent, ten eventually we’ll become like them. Many stories I remember from a Dutch television program “The traveling judge” of neighbors who could not stand each other any longer because of all kind of things that worked out to be irritating. For Dutch audience watching this programs it was adorable (nothing better to do maybe).
If we live in a family or community where there’s a culture of being understanding and compassionate with each other, we’ll naturally be more peaceful and loving. Children growing up in such an environment will learn to be caring and kind.
Be aware of your daily consumption and become or remain healthy.