Away from undesirable vs towards the desired

Where on this spectrum are you? Fear —— Love

You can live you life trying to prevent downward movement: trying to prevent feeling bad, sick, depressed, or fat. Most likely it will involve trying to figure out what you can get away with without the unpleasant consequences. So if you are trying to avoid feeling bloated, you will try to figure out what you can get away with without feeling bloated. Or if you are trying not to gain weight, you will try to pin point what you can get away with without extra pounds adding up.

You can also live trying to move upwards: trying to eat, move, be with people who make you feel more connected, aware, present, attuned.

Logically, trying to avoid feeling bad we may avoid foods and drinks that make us feel bad or at least try to do so. We may try various foods/dishes/bedtime habits to see if we can get away with them. For example, some maybe able to get away with a few glasses of wine a week, with going to sleep late, with skipping meals and having processed foods. Unless it makes us feel bad, we won’t exclude it from our life. Here some people will exclude gluten, dairy, alcohol, sugar, caffeine, meat just because it makes them feel worse.

Second approach is different in a way that we choose habits, foods and people that make us feel more connected, attuned, graceful, light. Avoiding feeling bad is not enough, we want to feel better. Here we start making choices based on the source of food, on its life-energy, and maha gunas (predominantly choosing sattvic nature). We create habits that allow us to stay attuned to the cycles of nature and doshas. We avoid foods not just because our body can’t digest them but because they may have the wrong energy, energy that is not aligned with how we want to feel. For example, our body may do just fine with meat or alcohol but their tamasic/rajasic energy if consumed regularly may not be helpful in our movement towards more connectivity with ourselves and nature.

In the first scenario we say: I can’t have X because it makes me (bloated, constipated, gain weight, gives me a headache, makes me jittery, etc – enter your bad feeling). If it didn’t have this bad effect, the person wouldn’t exclude it in this scenario. Basically, if you can get away with it, it stays.

In the second scenario we say: I prefer to have freshly made foods that are filled with prana because I want to feel more connected to the environment around me and to stay in integrity with my desired feelings. 

Or prefer not to have X because I would like to feel (light, attuned, easy, calm, ever your desired feeling)

Self-restriction which is prevalent in the first scenario and can often result in self sabotage: binging, overeating, binge drinking, overspending. Breaking self imposed rules leads to guilt, shame, negative self dialogue and usually aggravation of physical symptoms we try to avoid. In this scenario forbidden foods are still highly desirable.

Here people can get into a pattern of searching for supplements and herbs that can help them get away with doing/eating what is not good for them without consequences. Think weight reduction pills, laxatives, carb or fat blockers, energy drinks, sleeping pills, etc. Basically, we are looking to avoid changing our habits.

Choice to avoid certain food or behavior is often based on fear of feeling bad.

Comparing yourself to people who can get away with more can evoke feeling of unfairness and envy.

In the second scenario, free choice with a clear and personally important reason is more sustainable and forgiving. Having something outside of preferred foods or breaking a normal bedtime habit are often perceived as a learning opportunity and a reminder why the decision to act differently was made in the beginning.

Here the desire to evolve and live aligned with personal values overrides the desire for particular foods. Overtime those foods are not perceived as edible foods.

Choice to avoid certain foods or behaviors is made out of love and respect for your own body, its unique needs, nature, and the universal laws. There is an understanding and appreciation of bio individuality and lack of judgement of other people’s choices.

The described two scenarios are on the opposite ends of the range. There is a whole range of possibilities in between them. We all shift in between the two ends based on our day, mood, cycle of the month and in relationship to various foods or habits. However, the awareness of where you are is an easy way to shift upwards.

Which scenario is your current reality?

Are you asking yourself a question:

  • Is that food/habit helping me experience (enter your desired feeling)?

Or you are saying to yourself:

  • If only I didn’t feel (enter your undesirable feeling) I would eat/do x all the time
Philosopher and the wolf on freedom and discipline. Uncertainty and a true cost of practice in modern medicine