Food & Nutrition

QA146 QUESTION: I have a question about the food that we put into our bodies. How important is it to be selective, and what should we select? Is there a relationship between how we feed our body and how we function in the human person?

ANSWER: Of course. Since the body is an expression of the total personality, it is a tremendous mistake of people to separate the spirit from the body or the mind from the body, for what you feel is always in the body. The body is the carrier; the body is the immediate receptacle in which you receive the outer world and from which your inner world transmits itself to the outer world.

The food, just as any other facet of bodily living, is therefore important. It is food; it is fresh air; it is exercise; it is sleep; it is a healthy balance between work and leisure; and it is the sexual activity of man – all these are bodily functions apparently. And yet they’re immediate expressions of the mind, of the spirit, of the total personality; and therefore there must be an interaction.

The healthier your outer life, the more you will further the growth of your inner life. The more you grow inwardly, the more naturally you will be guided to and flock toward a healthy outer life. This is an inevitable interaction.

Now, what is healthy to eat? There are, of course, as in every other facet, certain general principles which a little study and common sense will give you an answer to and where I do not have to go into detail. But primarily I want to say that when the mind and the psyche are healthy, no exaggeration or fanaticism will exist. There will be a natural intuition for the human being.

What is generally good, will often be also good for him. Then there are individual distinctions or predilections. I mean, each person has perhaps a different way of expressing himself in this as in any other area. But I do not have to go into detail. I would also beware of this, because it is so easy for my friends to make rules and then be fanatical about the rules.

There are several rules I do want to establish, if we want to call it that. And the first is, if there is true joy in what you eat, it will not harm you. On the other hand, it is equally true to say that the healthier the total organism is, the more healthy food will be truly enjoyed and the unhealthy food will be less enjoyed.

It is exactly the same with other expressions: the healthier the organism is, the more the individual will enjoy physical movement. And the less healthy the organism, the more difficult it will appear to bring oneself to move the body. The more healthy the organism is, the more joyful sexual activity is going to be. The less healthy, the more of a difficulty it will appear, the more it will appear to be a chore in one way or another.

The healthier the organism, the better sleep is going to be. Automatically the right balance will be found between rest, leisure, entertainment and work. The more healthy the organism is, the more the work will be enjoyed as pleasure and not as a chore. All these things are interactive.

It is the unhealthy organism that constantly craves for unhealthy food; that constantly craves for physical inactivity; that constantly craves for sexual releases that do not involve the total personality; that constantly craves for exaggerated pleasures in a distorted way or for too much or too little rest. So here the interaction of the total personality is of tremendous importance – that is, it is important to understand this factor.

I say, and it can constantly be observed, that many people who start the Pathwork find, at a certain juncture, almost as a natural by-product, a new way of life in their food habits, in their habits of sleep and exercise, in their habits of sexuality. While, on the other hand, it is also true and can also be observed that with some people, for one reason or another, a healthy habit in food or in exercise is adopted first, which then leads to an inner opening of the psyche.

It cannot be emphasized enough that the healthy balance must come as a self-regulating principle and cannot be determined by the intellect. You can determine by the intellect what foods to choose, according to your common sense and to the available knowledge, combined with intuitive faculties, which you extend into listening into your body.

For your body has a wisdom, the very wisdom of your real self. Once this is established, it self-regulates itself. [Lecture #153 The Self-Regulating Nature of Involuntary Processes] This is the way it should be, for if the ego is overactive, it becomes fanaticism and it becomes strain. So as in all these factors, where the real self is called into action, it begins.

The first steps are activated by the outer ego in a desirable direction, in the direction one recognizes as healthy and as leading to a greater expansion of the personality. The ego activates this with the full knowledge that the real self will take over and integrate with the ego so it is then becoming an effortless process by itself.

This applies in exactly the same way to the efforts of self-recognition, where first an effort with the outer ego is absolutely essential. For without this, it would not happen. The sluggishness and the resistance of the area of the mind and the psyche that are afflicted would always be the winner if the ego would not battle into that direction.

But after a certain amount of effort in this way, it becomes a self-regulating process and without even forcing yourself, you do recognize, you do see, you do perceive. It is the same with food habits or with exercise habits or any other physical expressions of the total personality. They become effortless and self-regulating and the most natural, organic process.

Then it is not necessary to be fanatic in any way, whether it concerns food, whether it concerns exercise, whether it concerns sleep or sexuality or work or play or one’s efforts of self-recognition and meditation. It is all an effortless process that takes place because it is desired, because it makes one feel good.

If once in a while there is an interruption – there is an exception – there is no sense of anxiety or guilt about it, because life is then spontaneous. And the deep understanding exists that where there is real joy, there cannot possibly be harm. The awareness and distinction exists between real joy and compulsion – the need to gratify a compulsive need – which may, at times, be confused with real joy but, of course, has nothing to do with it.

One can eat compulsively, for example; one can become compulsively driven into sexual activities; one can believe one needs compulsively sleep or one needs compulsively pleasures – any entertainment or whatever; or one compulsively works or exercises. Any of this may be rationalized as “this is healthy.”

But whenever there’s a compulsion, there is no real joy. There is a momentary alleviation of tension, and that has nothing to do with joyfulness, with real pleasure. There is never an imbalance that one is over-weighted or one is at the expense of another way of self-expression.

QUESTION: In what sense did Jesus mean then when he said it doesn’t matter what you put into your mouth but what comes out of it?

ANSWER: He meant what I have also often said about when there is a fanatical over-adherence to rules as it existed, especially at that time, in the then-dominant religion in the Jewish faith. A tremendous amount of rules inhibited the person, and not only the rules and the fanaticism, but also there was the tendency of confusing that these rules mean being religious, being spiritual, being pleasing to God – which, of course, is a tremendous error.

The whole concept of “there sits an authority up there who watches whether you eat this or whether you eat that,” is a total self-alienation and self-deception.

Now you see, a great mistake is often being made whereby something that has been said – not only by Jesus but by many other great spirits – at a certain time for a certain opportunity because a certain over-weight or over-exaggeration existed, is interpreted as a generality and take it to the other extreme.

If the tendency at that time would have been an extreme in the other direction, then what Jesus would have said would have been apparently the opposite. But the predominant rule then was to confuse the adherence of rules and regulations – that were at best sanitary – with spirituality, and this is why Jesus said this.

 

QA169 QUESTION: I have noticed in the past two years, my eating habits have changed. I have fed my body differently, with the result that I have slowly noticed changes in my being – the way I feel, my digestion, and my attitude toward things I do and towards people. I find that I get a tremendous warmth, I don’t feel irritated and annoyed as I used to, and I’m much more patient. I enjoy things more. I’d like to ask the relationship between nutrition and the development of one’s personal life and soul?

ANSWER: The relationship is, of course, a very direct one, as the relationship between the body and the psyche and the emotions and the mind is a very direct one. Therefore, I would say that the person who becomes healthy on one level first and goes all the way through will inevitably extend this level of health on another level of functioning.

Some people will begin – because for them, perhaps, this is the first important thing – to concentrate on the body and give the body its healthy habits in nutrition, in exercising, in opening the body’s energy fields, etcetera. With other people, such healthy habits in the body will make it much easier for the mind to follow suit, although this does not always happen.

For some people remain on that level and function, to a certain extent, quite well, while they somehow cannot bring themselves to carry this over onto the level of the inner being and change and make the inner being grow wherever it is still undeveloped.

But, I would say, that whoever is truly whole about his attempts to get well within his own spirit must ultimately also acquire new habits in body attitudes. He will apply the proper kind of movements that open up the fields, and the proper kind of energy through nutrition, through fresh air, through exercises and through the right amount of sleep – not too much, not too little.

He will also find the right balance between work and pleasure, until work becomes pleasure itself – so that everything becomes more joyful. This must be the outcome of any kind of path.

Now, I would say, though, you have to beware of an attitude that makes a panacea out of any one specific thing. The one specific thing that really counts is inner growth, inner self-recognition, inner facing of your attitudes of mind and feeling, and changing the destructive feelings.

That this will also bring up bodily changes is self-understood. But the bodily habits in themselves cannot do it. They can only make the spirit more open to take the necessary step where it is perhaps most difficult. Now, if you find changes within yourself recently, I would say it is an oversimplification to ascribe this to new food habits that have lasted for such a short time. That would be quite impossible.

I would rather say that the new food habits – the openness to it, the receptiveness to it, and also the apparent results from them – is more a question that something in you is beginning to change in certain areas which may have these effects to begin with, but which will have many more effects as time goes on. So a truly healthy person will make this health whole from whatever level you begin. Is that clear? {Yes}

Let me add one thing more. The wholeness of the personality and the health of it for the split and constricted human being requires many angles of approaches. It would be just as oversimplified to say only meditation is the answer. It could no more be the entire answer than diet or than exercises or even searching within the self.

Nothing in itself alone can do it, for the human being is too split, too confused, so that it requires an awful lot of interacting approaches and the wisdom to choose when to put more weight on one and when to put more weight on the other – until the whole thing begins to interact as a wholeness in itself.

The breathing, the moving, the how to move, when, what to and so on so forth, this is all part of it. The food habits are another part of it. Meditation is still another part. Self-search and self-interrogation in the right way is still another part. Giving the spirit the right nourishment and inspiration is still another part.

 

QA171 QUESTION: I’d like to ask a question about food. Isn’t it very important that part of the aggravating situations arise from the kind of food that we take in, which not only don’t help us but hinder our process of change and growth spiritually, physically and emotionally?

ANSWER: There’s no question about that. But I would put it the other way around: I would say that the healthier a person becomes – I mean healthier in mind and soul – the more he will see to it that he will also eat the proper food substances that further his physical health as well.

The person who continually eats the kind of food that will be detrimental to his body, or not furthering for his body, must have also a self-destructiveness, an inner will not to expand, not to feel energetic, not to live his best. But the healthy life consists of many aspects, and food is one of them.

The healthier the total organism affirms life, affirms experience, affirms outgoing connection with other people, affirms love feelings, affirms involvement, affirms mutuality, the more he will seek all kinds of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual habits that further the total personality.

 

QA229 QUESTION: Here we’re learning that we must refine our intake to refine our outtake. Wouldn’t it seem that nutrition should be a consideration? Also I have read that certain foods have a higher vibratory frequency than others. Could you clarify this for me, please?

ANSWER: There is no doubt that the person who is more and more in an integrated state will develop a very fine sense of the truly nourishing alive foods for him. And at other times it may happen that this aspect may be called for first and then it leads to a deepening of an inner spiritual search.

However, I want to warn against all fanatical, outer, strict, rigid means. As in many others areas of life, rules and dogmas defy the spirit and the individuality of the spirit. God has given abundance in food, and there is no one that is per se to be rejected. It is to be taken in in a balanced way and in an aware way and also in an alive way.

For as you all know, nowadays food is deadened to a large extent. But even that is not as harmful if it is not heeded at all, if people are completely oblivious of it. If there is no fanatical attitude, it will not harm you to once in a while take in a food that is not absolute perfection, for the attitude is infinitely more important.

What is the need of one person may not correspond to the need of another. The important thing is to be in contact with your own body and its needs, and have the courage to listen to the needs of your body that may or may not correspond to this or that school of thought about nutrition. So there should be an alive self-acumen in this respect that occurs without fanaticism.

The belief is infinitely more important than anything else, for the power of your belief by far exceeds the power of any outer condition, be it food or other things. You can poison your system with your beliefs. You can purify your system with your beliefs.

If you purify your system with nourishing, truthful, realistic beliefs, your whole system will become more attuned and it will not be such an issue anymore.

 

QA234 QUESTION: [From the kitchen staff at the Center in Phoenicia] This is something that happens on a daily level, and it’s an example of a larger thing. Let’s say I’m making rice pudding, and there’s a choice to be made – maybe I want to use whole grain rice, but I feel that many people would prefer to use white rice. And the question is, in a case where I feel that I know that something is healthier one way but that people will prefer it the other way, is it worth it to use the thing that I feel is healthier and that I would prefer? But if people won’t enjoy it as much, is it as good? Can you offer some way to deal with that conflict that arises?

ANSWER: Yes. I will try to answer this question from several points of view and levels that you will see all meet really into one. Ultimately and in reality, there really should be no conflict between what is more nutritious and nourishing and also more tasty and preferable. Many times something is preferred in the old way simply because of habit, of looks, of a rigid custom, and the mind is not nimble enough to be open to something new. And the mind can, of course, dictate taste.

Since the mind can do much more difficult things like creating your whole life, [Laughter] so certainly the mind can create your own preferences. At the same time, I also want to warn against fanaticism. It is not a terrible misfortune if once in awhile one eats something that is less nutritious or wholesome or even may have something that may be considered not so good. [Laughter]

Because, again, it is your joy, your pleasure, and your attitude of fearfulness and of conviction that determines so much, either way, in both directions – in the direction of “I must eat what I am used to” and that may be a very narrow margin, or “I must eat what is strictly the healthiest.” Both are extreme positions and in both the error is being made that the outer is an absolute. And the outer rarely is an absolute.

In a community such as you are in the process of creating, it would be extremely advisable and welcome if you can find a beautiful synthesis of the following ingredients – and I do not mean food ingredients; I mean attitude ingredients – which will create beautiful, healthy and most-tasty food.

The attitude ingredients should be a wide-openness of mind, a mind that lets in many, many possibilities of what is healthy, what is wholesome, what is tasty, what, in the long run, nourishes the temper of your spirit best, without going into fearful fanaticism that something terrible is going to happen to you if for once you infringe upon it – either your standards of what is healthy or your standards of what you think is your taste.

Your own taste buds will learn to enjoy many more things than you let yourself experience, and this narrowness, this confinement of mind attitude, enslaves you. It is a slave master that whips you and limits you and creates negative feelings in you that are not necessary.

Now, about the health of food. There are many ingredients in everything that grows that you do not even know anything about yet. Some are known. Some energetic aspects of energy frequencies are known. But the half knowledge can often also become a slave master. It is very important to use such knowledge in a spirit of sitting lightly in the saddle, as it were. [Laughter]

It’s so important, my friends, not to bring strict infringements into your outer life and yet make room for ever-increasing knowledge in a receptive, constructive, creative way. But beware of any kind of fanaticism, because the fanaticism is always using an outer half-truth as a substitute for something that is far more important and that is within.

So perhaps what I said here can be your guidelines, to make room for many more possibilities that embrace both health, wholesomeness, rich nutrition, and tastiness and that you remove the barriers of both extremes. “I will only eat what is most healthy,” or “I will only eat what I am used to.” This is the attitude that will foster what should be – that your eating will nourish your body and at the same time be really one of the great pleasures in your life.

For there are many pleasures available, and this should certainly be one that can be enjoyed without necessarily being a substitute for other pleasures – and that too you become aware of.

 

QA234 QUESTION: A lot of us at this time get a lot of pleasure out of eating things like coffee and chocolate and ice cream. I was wondering if you could tell us if our relation to these foods has a bad effect and also does the pleasure that we get from eating it counteract that effect?

ANSWER: Not the pleasure but the fear. If you are in fear of it, it will have a negative effect. If you truly derive pleasure and it is not compulsive and it is not as a substitute for other things and it is not in an extreme form that damages you – anything extreme is damaging – it will not harm you.

For sugar and chocolate and coffee and all these things – anything that is growing in God’s world – if it is done in a spirit with love and appreciation, cannot be of harm and must be in proper balance. But if this becomes a compulsive over-concern, then, of course, in your own Pathwork you will find what it stands for, what it symbolizes and what it is a substitute for.

But the pleasure will never be as harmful ever as the fear and the threat that is imposed upon the self fanatically. “I must never drink coffee or never eat this or the other thing.” In measure, everything with joy and gratitude will never harm you.

 

QA234 QUESTION: Would you comment on the effects of cooking methods and cooking pots and utensils on the energetic and nutritional qualities in food. It appears that high temperatures in some metals, such as aluminum, reduce the life energy in the food.

ANSWER: Yes. There can be no question about the fact that materials have energy emanations that influence the environment just as everything else does. And you learn gradually more and more about these things. As you do, as your inner being grows and improves, so do your living habits grow and improve and become more in keeping with the best that nature has to offer. It can then become a gradual adjustment and taking in of new approaches and new methods.

However, again I warn against the idea, number one, that this is all there is to it. There is so much more that it is impossible for you as yet to know. There are counteragents that are always active, and particularly coming from the attitude and the mind of people, and the spirit in which cooking and preparing as well as imbibing take place.

So again I warn against fanaticism. At the same time, I recommend that you improve and use whatever knowledge you have, in a gradual harmonious way – your approaches, your preparations, your materials – both utensils and objects as well as cooking materials as well as food materials as well as mind material, mind approach.

I will say to you that if the mind approaches the task with reverence to all that has been created, with love to want to participate in the creative act in a far reaching way by giving, for example the thought that can go in “I want to contribute to the health and the joy to the individuals who eat this food; these individuals are important; they are truth carriers. It will go from one to the other to the next to the next; and therefore their lives, their health, and their joyfulness are important and I wish to contribute to this, as my life is important, and I want to contribute to it.”

This kind of meditation and thought will counteract slow energies or apparently harmful energies to a degree you can hardly imagine. But this does not mean that you should disregard what you know. You should take it with an openness and an unfanatic productive attitude that makes room for these improvements without fear, without hurry – harmoniously.

 

QA234 QUESTION: Many of the foods we have to eat have been treated with chemicals such as nitrates or sprayed with poison like arsenic in lead to kill insects. Modern technology says these things are very bad for us. I would like you to comment on that too.

ANSWER: Actually, I really have answered this, but I will say it again. I recommend that in your community more and more you will create your own foods, and as long as this is not yet so, that you more and more acquire foods that are least treated and most healthily grown. But at the same time, if this is not always the case and there is a small degree of this, it will not harm you, provided your attitude and your thoughts are in the manner I suggested.

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