Sometimes “spirituality” can become a kind of mask that we hide behind – another persona. This has been true for me in the past – hiding my feelings. Even now I have to catch myself sometimes and ask: Am I being real here... What am I really feeling… Am I just believing convincing spiritual jargon, and spewing out all the “right” words, “spiritualizing” my way through my feelings… Or am I being authentic. There is something authentic in *allowing and expressing* feelings – the truth of life experience. Feeling the feelings allows me to be more open to others, more compassionate, more engaged, more available, more vulnerable, and less detached. Feelings open the heart.
So – with my food fetish recently I am looking into the inner window of what the feelings are behind the Food: why I indulge, why I use it as a drug, what feelings am I trying to stuff, what am I trying to suppress, to medicate, to avoid, what are the holes that I am trying to fill, what is not being satisfied, what pain am I trying to soothe… Food actually has become a practice in awareness. At this point I am still on the outer fringes of awareness, but I am aware that something is not quite whole here – something needs to be seen, felt and acknowledged… And so I’m beginning to listen, to not resist the feelings, and see what they have to offer.
My first pass at *seeing* the feelings behind the food produced this list:
Food is resistance to what is.
Food is avoidance, denial, repression, suppression, self-gratification.
Food is anger, anxiety, frustration, grief, self-denial, self-sacrifice, unmet emotion, unmet feeling, unmet life.
Food is security, and insecurity, self-doubt, and neuroses of all kinds.
Food is distraction, disappointment and dissatisfaction.
Food is numbing.
Food is false control when I feel out of control.
Food is consumed in order *not* to face things that need to be faced.
Food is a way of fighting the fear.
Food is about not being good enough.
Food covers a deep pain, a deep grief, and temporarily fills a deep hole.
When I looked into this hole of pain and grief, I recognized that it is the old wound of separation – the original wounding of mankind - that spawns all religions, the search for Truth, for wholeness, for “Oneness.” Intellectually I know this mental *idea* of separation cannot be true… But, evidently it is still *believed* somewhere in this system. There is a very *deep* sense of *feeling* separate from ‘The Beloved’ – that no amount of intellectualizing or spiritualizing can assuage. This feeling is like being torn and gutted. It is torment and an extreme longing for relief. Food evidently offers that relief – like any other addiction – physical or spiritual. In fact, the feeling of “separateness” from the ‘The Beloved’ is probably the basis of all addictions.
The feeling invites me in, to see, to come to face to face with this sense of separateness that I continue to *feel* in my *being,* despite “knowing” otherwise: That in truth, this Primordial Beingness (‘The Beloved’) is intimate with and inseparable from all life, and all life experiences. I know this and yet evidently I don’t… And the closer I get to this gaping hole, the more I want to eat!!!! There is an overwhelming compulsion to consume every time I approach…
But I am willing to at least look over the edge, to feel this feeling of separation, to befriend it, to honor it, to *see* it, to stop avoiding and resisting it, or trying to cover it over with “spirituality.” Oh yes, almost forgot – and with food. I can’t *deny* its presence. It is too visceral – too intense. To hold it and give it space is freeing… ‘The Beloved’, through awareness, embraces everything, receives every feeling, every emotion back to ItSelf with deep acceptance and deep compassion. In the embrace the sense of emotional “pain” in this body begins to relax - because it has been seen, acknowledged and welcomed home.
The seeing of this, and the embrace of it, is not the end of it, however. It’s the beginning. It’s the beginning of living authentically, living mindfully, living fully awake and aware – with feelings and food… It’s an ongoing discovery.