The other day I was listening to a woman in the elevator talking to someone on the phone and she was saying to her friend something like “well, you know how it is, marriage is like a roller coaster, it has ups and downs…” and that got me thinking I should write about what I call spiritual nutrition and how this connects with nutrition in general.
For the record, I don’t consider myself enlightened, but being the curious, emotional woman that I am, I reflect frequently about how to improve my relationships with the people around me in the world we live in.
Something that has really helped me in the self-reflecting process is the meditation practice. I was lucky to complete a 10 day meditation retreat (Vipassana Meditation) in 2004 in Sydney, Australia and it was the beginning of a calmer and happier me. Since then, I make an effort to meditate during the weekdays (unless I am sick or something extraordinary happens) for 15 minutes or more if I have the time. How does it help me? It helps me to reduce anxiety, be focused, calmer, to let go and enjoy the here and now. I should probably add here that to make the meditation practice a successful effort, its important to complement it with the teachings of the Buddha and practice meditation with a group (in Buddhism it’s called Sangha), so I also dedicate time to read, join the Sangha (not as often as I want to) and attend live sessions with spiritual leaders to improve my understanding in this topic. Being born in a catholic family shaped my values and beliefs but I always felt it lack something. I am not going to go into the details of the aspects about Catholicism that I don’t believe in or I don’t relate to, but I can say the more I read and study Buddhism, the more I connect to it. For the purpose of this blog (Because I could easily write a lot about my appreciation for Buddhism) what really speaks to me is the understanding that we have the power to be happy within ourselves. The fact that we have the power to be active and not reactive in our relationships with others and the world in general.
Think of this: When you get angry, have you ever had that feeling inside your gut when you are just about to yell or scream at someone? It’s almost like a click that turns on inside you making you feel hot as if smoke will come out of your ears in a second. This is the time when you have two choices (even though things happen really fast in your brain and you don’t really see the two choices immediately):
Choice No. 1. React with aggression, say everything that comes to your head without thinking of the consequences, quickly looking for words to offend your opponent and defend yourself.
Choice No. 2. Breath in, breath out, acknowledge the heat inside your body and don’t engage in aggressive behaviour. See the other person with compassion and decide its better to cool off before saying anything else you will regret later.
Personally, when I get upset, I feel the heat inside my head and I know in the next second I have to make a choice: should I put on my boxing gloves? Or should I just let it go and find another time to choose my words better? It’s not always easy but I have a choice. This is exactly what I mean by becoming active and not reactive. So the question is how do we train our mind to see things with this light? Meditation practice.
You don’t need to change religions to learn how to meditate. But it is crucial to act with intention. How can we expect others to act with wisdom and compassion if we don’t practice it ourselves?
So going back to the roller coaster comment, I could not agree more. Marriage is like a roller coaster, it has ups and downs but we have the choice to make the ups more enjoyable and memorable and the downs less intense and destructive.
Being a healthier person is not just about the physical food you eat, our emotional health is very important, meditation is one way to detox your mind and create the space to be calmer and content. There are different meditation schools and practices; I can suggest these ones: The Diamond Way Buddhism , Bodhy Path , and Vipassana Meditation. But be active and look for other options, you don’t need to start this path alone, there are more people than you think interested in practicing meditation.
Having clarified this point, I want to share with you healthy food options that would help you to focus when you start your meditation practice:
- Have a herbal tea like ginger and lemon, mint or chamomile before you sit down in your quite area to meditate. Having a full stomach will make it very hard to focus
- Plant based diet is the ideal option because its lighter and it will not take that long to digest. (Grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, seeds) If your body is too busy breaking down the food, your attention will be diluted
- Avoid drinks which are high in sugar and caffeine, they will get you agitated
Now that you have this information, I hope you share with me how’s your meditation practice and what type of healthy foods are you including in your diet. Don’t be shy and share it here.