Our biological and physiological health doesn’t just follow our diet. It follows our actions, our experiences, and our emotions. There is an Ayurvedic teaching that says, “Establish being, perform action.”
The first part of this teaching, “establish being,” encourages us to settle into a place in life where we are able to be present in the moment. Learning to just be brings a sense of self-reflective awareness that can help us transform ingrained negative or painful patterns of behavior. The second part, “perform action,” reminds us to keep moving, be proactive, and take risks. I love this teaching, because it reminds us that there are two components of making change: being (recognition, reflection, meditation, awareness) and action (doing, motivation, completion, movement).
Change embodies the yin and yang of life. You cannot have one without the other. One of the secrets of health is to learn to bring the contemplative, introspective, soft, reflective nature of being to our everyday doings.
How Food has an Effect
Our relationship with food gives us access to our inner landscape. There are countless moments in food production, harvesting, cooking, and eating that ask for reflection, that engage our senses, our instincts, and our relationship with our deep primal nature.
Food gives us the opportunity both to establish being (think of the meditative quality that can accompany planting, weeding, harvesting, chopping, sautéing, and stirring and the being-ness of connecting to your instincts and your senses) and to perform action. This is holistic wellness at its finest, feeding both the emotional and the physical, the conceptual and the material — it provides nourishment for soul and body.
It is so important that our concepts of healing and nourishment remain reflective (being) as well as goal-oriented (action). Healing gets stuck when it revolves around obstacles, wounds, and illness narratives. Because our physiology follows our emotions and spirit and our spirit and emotions follow our physiology, the same foods that challenge our system and help it work better, that nourish it and comfort it, can help us find the courage to change, relax, forgive, and let go.
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