Navigating Nourishment Through Spirituality

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Plant, animal or insect the common thread is nourishment. Not being fed. Feeding is something totally different; feeding is consuming food for survival. Nourishment is to promote or sustain growth through consumption. You can be fed but not nourished with food, sex, sleep etc.

Our ancestors thousands of years ago lived in a way of survival. Along with being fed through survival methods, our egos protected us from those that were predators. We turned on a fight or flight mode, in which we react without thought. This is the way many of us still conduct ourselves emotionally and it rolls over into what we consume. How do we navigate the many food trends and pressures with the ideal being a way of nourishment, not survival? I say we navigate intuitively, we must first trust and listen to our bodies.

The issue is we never slow down long enough to take time to do this. We must be integrated with the reality around us. When we are in this state we become overwhelmed by information and feel the pressures of eating a certain way because everyone else is or “spiritually" this is what we should do. Recently there is a notion that if you are “spiritual” — especially as a millennial — that you are vegan or vegetarian. (I can understand where this idea would come from, as being raw vegan, vegan, and vegetarian myself in the past). It’s the idea that you have done it all wrong. What you believed about yourself, your body, your religion, your spirituality, and the world is now completely wrong. It is tempting to want to completely jump off of the ship that you feel has sunk for most of your life.

Most of us though don’t take the time to consider if what we are doing even in a state of striving for betterment is invoking our ancient egoist characteristics, of survival. We must become intentional about what we consume. If we really want to get a sense of peace, wellbeing, and spiritual awareness we must consume nourishing substances. Not ones that use up the energy as soon as it enters our systems, or causes us unwanted cravings and hunger, or those that cause further nutritional deficiencies than most of us already have. Declining to nourish self for long periods of time can cause serious physical and emotional instability. The myth really is that those that read tarot cards, carry crystals, and wear head-wraps that you should not consume animals.

This is the idea that life forces are to be respected and a health notion that meat is dead and consuming dead things means they rot, which leads to “bad health”. Only part of this statement is true. I believe if you really want to get close with nature, with yourself, with the energies surrounding you, you must consume other life forces. If we want to truly stick to the ecological interconnectedness of honoring nature the most spiritual aspect of consumption is sustaining life itself. We are beings of the earth, that is where we come from physically and we must eat as so. If we consider the circle of life in simplest terms it describes that the most basic food chain is a flow of life force energy between soil, decomposers, plants and animals.

Symbiotic relationships are essential to balance. Being mindful about where the food is from is more important than the label you are putting it under. Practice mindful mutualism; ‘a mutual beneficial association between different kinds of organisms’. Spirituality itself is not what you do it is how aware you are about the doing. If you’re sticking to a specific dietary guideline for whatever reason, you are blocking sustainable energy, the planet, and your own spiritual awakening and consciousness. Be intentional when navigating your nourishment.

Photo by Luke Michael