We’ve all heard the term, “you are what you eat”. We know that if we put bad things into our bodies, we’ll end up feeling pretty poorly. Equally, if we put good, wholesome, nourishing food into our bodies, we will feel much better. How much different is it to take this idea over to our thinking minds?
Our minds need nourishment too. All too often, we overload it with media and television, with constant thinking, worrying and getting stuck in our emotions. These things also help us to distract ourselves from our true self, from our true or “pure” thinking and emotions. We can get so wrapped up in them that we can’t see the forest for the trees, so to speak.
We all have things like fear and anger within our minds and within our bodies. The key is to not nourish these things, but instead nourish more positive things like compassion and love. This isn’t a rejection of our anger or our fear – they will always be there. It’s only human. We simply don’t have to engage with them, dance with them so much in order to live our lives fully. If I am angry, sitting with that anger, meditating with it helps me to see the underlying cause of it. I can see that the root cause of anger lies within me, and not another being that has ’caused’ it. Often it is through past experiences that we relate the anger to the present moment. If I can let my anger go, if I truly experience it and then let it go, what am I left with? The same can be said of fear. Fear is pretty much always based on change, and once we realise that all life is impermanent, the fear no longer lies within us and simply falls away. We will have to sit with these emotions time after time, but as long as we are practicing with them, we will get better at understanding them both within ourselves and others.
If we feed fear or anger, they will only get bigger and bigger. Have you ever punched your pillow? Did it make you feel better? Have you ever crawled under the duvet and feared coming out? Did this make anything better? Most likely not – acting on the anger and misplacing it on your pillow solves nothing, and also means that you have acted out aggressively and with violence to a mere pillow. If we keep feeding this sort of behaviour, how long until we act that out on another human being? Equally so with fear, if we constantly act on our fears they do not go away, but rather take control of our lives until we become so tied up within them we cannot move.
It’s not just a case of switching over to ‘positive thinking’ either. Thinking only good thoughts will not make the bad ones go away – they will be there. We have to acknowledge them first and then deal with them. Sitting with them helps us to understand them. Then we can nourish more positive thoughts. If we see that fear is keeping us immobile, if the root of our fear lies in past relationships and experiences, we can then look at it objectively and apply that reasoning to our current situation, in the present moment. We might fear that we will lose our job, but fear lies in change, something that we humans hate. We seek stability and reassurance constantly, it’s our nature. If we look outside ourselves, however we see that in nature nothing is ever constant, things are ever flowing and changing, never the same twice. Every morning we wake up a different person.
We will always have fear, we will always have anger. How we engage with them is what is most important. Friends might say something that sets off anger within ourselves, but if we sit with it and look at it, we often realise that this is based on how we think they should behave. People are never going to behave exactly as we want or expect them to – they are their own person, with their own experiences. We cannot get inside their head. All we can do is see that they share the same sufferings along the path of human existence as we do, and can see also where we have failed. When we see that, we don’t have these expectations of others, and we don’t have the anger when the expectations aren’t met, or the fear that things are changing.
Find what nourishes you most, and work with those thoughts while being in touch with those that don’t nourish. Try not to engage with the thoughts that don’t nourish – simply notice them and be aware of them within yourself. Nourishing things like love, compassion, creativity and acceptance will make the road of life a lot easier to manage.
Take a look at your food for thought. What is nourishing you?
Awen blessings. x