The way that we conceptualize the act of nourishment profoundly affects our mental, emotional, and physical health. Many people think of nourishment in terms of the foods they consume, and perhaps the water they drink. In reality, we are constantly receiving our nourishment from a variety of different sources. In addition to food and water, we also receive energy from the sun, the earth, the air, interactions with other forms of life, and from the Higher Source of energy flowing within. Our overall health and wellbeing is directly related to our relationship with each source of energy in our day-to-day lives.
The reason why it is helpful to cultivate conscious nourishment is because suffering often arises when a person feels depleted of energy. Life Energy is equal to the energy of Love, they are not separate from one another. The animating energy of the universe is love. When you have an abundance of physical energy, you have more loving energy to share with the world. When a person feels tired or drained, they often do not feel very loving or have much energy to share, and are more likely to engage in codependent patterns, often feeling lost, confused, or depressed. This can take the form of turning to comfort foods, entertainment, or other people to “pick you up,” when you are feeling low. However, you can empower yourself by cultivating a stronger relationships with the many sources of nourishment that surround you. By doing so, you are learning how to tend to your own inner vibration and state of being in a healthy way.
Energy From Food
The quality and quantity of the Life Energy obtained from the food you eat can have a significant affect on your ability to maintain a clear mind, stable emotions, and vibrant physical health. Although conscious nutrition is helpful along the journey of awakening, it is not essential. It is the act of being present, awake, and fully aware of your creative potential as an aspect of the divine, that will allow you to transmute everything you put in your body into the energy of love. However, along the journey to that point, strengthening and purifying your body through nutrition can allow you to reach that state of presence and awareness more readily. There are a few different factors of nutrition to be aware of when understanding how best to nourish yourself; the amount of life energy present in any given food, as well as the elemental energy of the food.
Every type of food has a certain amount of Life Energy. Raw vegetables and fruits, for instance, contain the highest amount of Life Energy, whereas foods that have been dried, cooked, or processed contain far less. Fresh and raw foods also contain an abundance of digestive enzymes, vitamins, and minerals, all of which aid in the digestive process.
When a person’s diet consists largely of foods that are not “alive,” the body has to work much harder to digest these foods, while the pay off is far less. It takes more work to digest these foods, and less energy is obtained through the process. Cooked foods, baked goods, grains, and meat all require significantly more energy to digest than fresh, raw, vegetables and fruits (which is why it is common to feel tired or lethargic after eating these foods in excess). Over time this digestive stress can deplete the body of its energy reserves, causing internal stagnation and disease.
In addition to physical illness, the mind and emotions can become imbalanced when the body is chronically depleted of Life Energy. The more depleted a person is, the less control they will have over their thoughts, emotional reactions, and subsequent actions. A lack of self-control makes negative mental and emotional states much more likely, often resulting in suffering. When the body is receiving plenty of vital energy from living plant sources, however, the mind is sharp, the emotional energy is often positive and balanced, and a person generally feels light and full of energy.
Elemental Energies (The Four Elements)
Each type of food contains energy from each of the four elements; earth, water, air, and fire. The body is constantly seeking a balance of its elemental energy, and you may notice how the foods that you are drawn to change over time, depending on the seasons of the year, the people with whom you spend a lot of time with, and your emotional experiences. The type of elemental energy associated with each food can usually be determined simply by using your intuition—you can feel the energy of food just by holding it and seeing how it feels energetically.
In general, though, foods that grow close to the ground or beneath the ground, such as root vegetables like carrots, potatoes, beets, and squash, will have greater earth element. Foods that contain higher amounts of water, such as fruits, or the stalks of green vegetables, will contain more water element. Foods that grow higher into the air, such as leafy green vegetables, or stalk vegetables, will posses greater air element, while the fire element is found most readily in food sources coming from animals, such as meat, eggs, or dairy. Of course, all foods contain some of each element, but can typically be classified by the elemental energy that is most dominant within it.
Just as foods have dominant elemental energies, so too do people. You may have noticed how some people generally feel more grounded and rooted, some people more fiery and emotional, while other people more fluid and light. Everyone’s constitution is different, and each person’s soul has chosen to be born into a body with a particular energetic and physical constitution, based on what the soul desires to experience in a given lifetime. Finding the right diet for you, then, entails understanding the needs of your body, honoring your unique constitution, and eating accordingly. This is not something that you can necessarily think about, monitor, or plan for in your mind, however. Your body is wise and knows what it needs. The body holds so much more wisdom than the mind, and needs to be trusted when it comes to nutrition. When you actually let go of constantly trying to eat the healthiest foods, or trying to stick to a specific diet (such as vegetarianism, veganism, paleo, or raw), and instead, listen to the ever changing and evolving needs of your own body, you can easily stay in balance without all of the effort and headache of micromanaging your diet.
It is good to keep in mind that the physical body and emotional body are constantly absorbing elemental energy from many different sources, food being only one source. When you spend time with a person who has strong earth energy, for instance, you will begin absorbing the earth element through the emotional energy exchanged during social interactions with this person. You may notice that after spending a lot of time with a person exhibiting strong earth energy, you also begin feeling the earth energy more fully within you. Your body, then, may gravitate towards foods with greater water, air, or fire element in order to balance out the earth energy for the needs of your personal constitution.
But again, this is not something you need to monitor or think much about. The wisdom of the body naturally guides a person towards the foods that will keep them in balance. This is why it is extremely helpful to let go of the idea of having a certain type of diet. As soon as you commit to eating only vegetarian, only vegan, only raw, or any other preset dietary practice, you limit the wisdom of your body to gravitate towards the foods that it actually needs. There is no formula for the perfect diet, but rather a process of following your intuition, whereas you begin to feel the energy of your food, and feel what your body needs at any given time. Taking the time to tune into the energy of different foods can provide you with greater clarity about what your body needs in order to be healthy.
A great way to see what your body wants is to open your refrigerator or pantry and just gaze upon the food available to you. As you do, notice which foods your body naturally feels drawn towards. You can do the same process when shopping in the grocery store. Be very honest with yourself while you do this, for there is a significant difference between the foods that your body is actually drawn to, versus the psychological and emotional cravings that would have you eating sweet and fattening foods at every meal, like chocolate or ice cream.
If you are not sure what foods your body truly needs, consider doing a muscle test on the food. One of my favorite ways to do this is to simply hold a piece of food in front of my heart, and ask my body, “does this food serve my health at this time?” If I feel an energetic pull towards the food, then it is an indication that the food is what my body needs. If I feel energetically repelled away from the food, then at that moment, that food is not what my body wants. If I feel nothing at all, it can be an indication that either way, that food won’t be detrimental to my health. The success of this technique comes down to intention and practice.
What you may notice when you look at the culture at large, is that most people are not really listening to their own body’s needs, but rather eating the kinds of foods that are being consumed by the people around them, or consuming the diets espoused by health gurus, spiritual teachers, or friends and family. But how could anyone else know what your body needs better than you? You are as unique and individual as each of the stars above, and only you can know what is best for you. And so it may be necessary to unravel and dissolve much of the conditioned familial and cultural habits you may be holding regarding your diet, before you reach the point where your body speaks clearly about what it really needs. You may also need to expose yourself to new foods, such as sprouted foods, different types of fruits and vegetables than what you are used to, or fermented foods, to get more experience and knowledge about what your body actually needs.
And because many people have an adversarial, love-hate relationship with their body (we appreciate the body when its healthy, has energy, and stays trim, yet become frustrated with it when it gets sick, tired, or puts on weight), it may be necessary to tend to any unresolved emotional baggage that you may have towards your body. Consider making amends with your body by using positive affirmations daily, such as, “thank you body for all the wonderful experiences you have provided me,” or “I love every cell in my body for giving me this gift of life.”
The energy that goes into creating and processing food also gets transferred to your body when you consume it, and so it is wise to be discerning from where you buy your food. Ideally, you could grow your own vegetables. In the event that you cannot have a garden, for whatever reason, research farms in your area, striving to buy local and organic. If possible, develop a relationship with local farmers so that you can get a sense of the energy that is going into the food that you will be eating. If you are eating meat, be particularly aware of the energy of the farm in which the animal was raised. When animals are mistreated or neglected, that negative energy can easily be passed on to you when you consume the meat of the animal. And of course, you certainly don’t want to be supporting a company that increases suffering to any living creature, which is why organic, grass-fed, and free-range production are all essential. Organic and grass fed are good labels, but I have found that these labels have become less reliable. Its best to do your own research, and in the case of meat, ideal to visit the farm and see for yourself the conditions in which the animals are living.
Your energy and intentions, as well, have a profound effect on how your body absorbs and assimilates the Life Energy from your food. Be conscious to remain in a peaceful or positive state while preparing and consuming your food, as your energy will flow into the food, and then be passed on to those who consume it. Avoid cooking for yourself or others when you feel agitated, anxious, or any other negative state. Be mindful of how you handle and treat your food. Is it a means to an end, or can you feel the divine and sacred energy of the food as you prepare and consume it? Before eating, consider spending a moment being present with the food, either saying a blessing, or just acknowledging that you are grateful for the nourishment the food is providing. When you bless your food, it blesses you back with the gift of increased vitality and wellbeing.
When a person becomes accustomed to an energetically and nutritionally deficient diet, the body can become overloaded with toxic residue. Chronic toxicity in the body makes the mind sluggish, contributes to negative emotional states, drains physical energy, and eventually causes disease. Fortunately, the process of cleansing the body through detoxification and diet can reverse much of the damage caused by chronic toxicity. Healing the intestinal lining, detoxifying the body from chemicals and heavy metals, and integrating a healing diet into your life can mean the difference between a calm and happy disposition, versus chronic pain, negativity, and suffering.
The last chapter of this book, entitled, “The Holistic Healing Protocol,” contains all of the information, practices, and techniques required for cleansing and healing the mind, emotions, and body. Although, no matter what your physical condition, you always have the option and the ability to transmute suffering by coming back to the present moment and bringing acceptance to what is. Maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle make it easier to do this, however, and by doing so, you also are honoring the sacred vessel that is your body.
Energy From the Water
Water is alive and conscious, and the quality of water that you regularly consume can have a significant affect on your state of consciousness. There is a big difference between water coming out of the earth, versus water coming from the tap (even if it is purified water, such as water from reverse osmosis or distillation processes). When water flows through the earth it becomes energized by the magnetic field of the earth, and also collects minerals as it travels through the ground and over the rocks. Earth energy is profoundly important for human health, and creates the sense of “groundedness” in the body that each one of us needs in order to feel anchored in our bodies and in the physical world. Considering that the human body is over 60% water, imagine then, how the quality (or consciousness) of the water in your body would affect your mental, emotional, and physical experience.
In addition to the water you drink, bathing in fluoridated water that has long been removed from the underground aquifers of the earth, does not have the same electrical charge, nor does it bring your body the same vitality and sense of aliveness that living water does. If at all possible, find a local river or lake in your area where you can periodically “recharge” through soaking or swimming. Large bodies of water contain an abundance of negatively charged ions, which your body will happily absorb. To search for a local spring in your area where you can obtain fresh spring water, reference the website, www.findaspring.com. Collect water in glass jars for drinking (instead of plastic), being sure to sanitize them on a regular basis with natural products. The energy of the water you drink and bathe in becomes your energy, and when it comes from the earth it provides pure, alive, and radiant energy to you.
Energy From the Sun
Many people take the sun for granted, not fully realizing how much life energy it provides for all living beings on the planet. In addition to supplying all of the plants on the planet with fuel, the sun also directly energizes the human body. The body utilizes the energy from the sun by absorbing it directly through the skin, using this energy to create essential vitamins and nutrients that cannot be obtained very easily from other sources. While spending time out in the sun is generally a very healthful practice, most people raised in the U.S. have been conditioned to believe that even moderate sun exposure is dangerous. Surprisingly, much of the fear around excessive sun exposure being connected to cancer is unfounded. While there has yet to be a single study that definitively connects excessive sun exposure to increased risks of skin cancer, there are, ironically, studies connecting excessive sun-screen usage with various types of cancer.
Though sunscreen may not be very healthy for you, you also don’t want to overdo your time in the sun either, and so a good rule of thumb is to gradually increase your time in order to allow your body to adjust. Start with 20 minutes a day, spending more time in the sun as your intuition guides you to do so. However, try to avoid sunbathing when the sun is high in the sky, but rather in the late morning or late afternoon. As you soak up the healing rays of the sun, feel gratitude for the energy and presence of this powerful being of light.
In addition to absorbing the energy of the sun through our skin, we also have receptors in our eyes that utilize the energy of the sun in ways that science has yet to fully understand. This phenomenon is exemplified in the ancient art of sungazing, a practice discovered thousands of years ago by spiritual aesthetics from various cultures around the world. Sungazing is the practice of looking directly into the sun for brief periods of time, which can be done either right after sunrise, or right before sunset. During these times of the day the intensity of the sunlight is made diffuse by the atmosphere, preventing damage from occurring to the retina of the eyes. It is estimated that tens of thousands of people around the world engage in sungazing on a regular basis. There are a few different methods. One of the more popular techniques (the HRM method) starts with a person looking at the sunrise for only ten seconds, increasing by ten seconds every day thereafter, until a total of 44 minutes is reached. It is believed that the energy of the sun is absorbed through the retina, traveling to the pineal gland, activating and energizing different parts of the mind, emotions, and body.
The well-known Indian sungazer, Hira Ratan Manek, (HRM) has received much attention because of his abilities to go for prolonged periods of time without consuming any food or water, which he claims is made possible by the nourishment of the sun. HRM has subjected himself to study, and was able to go 411 days in a highly monitored environment, in which he did not consume any food over the course the study. HRM claims that learning to take nourishment from the sun can be achieved by most anyone, and that sungazing has the potential to increase a person’s mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. Some reported benefits of the practice are an increase in mental clarity, focus, vision, memory, emotional wellbeing, spiritual connectedness, as well as increasing physical health. Sungazing, however, can be dangerous when practiced incorrectly. So be sure to only try this practice if you feel intuitively guided to do so, and have thoroughly studied up on the technique.
But you don’t have to sungaze in order to reconnect with the sun’s healing potential. You can begin repairing this sacred connection simply by holding the sun in loving awareness as you go about your day. You may find it beneficial to use a sun visualization in times when the sun in not so accessible (while indoors, during the winter months, or when it’s cloudy outside). For the visualization, imagine a column of bright white light descending down from the sun and in through the top of your head. Use your imagination to feel the energy of the sun filling your body with a healing white light, and then descending down through your body, down through the base of your spine, down your legs to your feet, and then down into the earth. With each breath, feel this energy flowing down through you, purifying and healing every cell in your body. Try it now to see how it makes you feel.
Energy From the Earth
The connection that we feel with the earth is just as essential as our connection to the Sun. The earth energy anchors us in this physical world, providing stability, wisdom, and support. Anytime we feel lost or confused, we can always turn to the earth for divine guidance, and a reminder of our true nature. In addition, the earth literally energizes the human body through direct skin to earth contact. You can nurture your relationship with the earth by spending more time in nature. Connect with the energy of the earth simply by standing barefoot on the ground.
Spending time in nature will invigorate and energize you, and awaken within you the memory of your most natural self. There have been times throughout the history of humanity when cultures have maintained a strong connection with the divine aspects of nature, and humans walked on the earth lightly and joyfully. We are returning to that way of being now, but this time with more wisdom, and with greater love than ever before. Our relationship with the earth and sun are our primordial relationships, and by nurturing them, we can dissolve much of the feelings of separateness that perpetuate suffering. While most people experience relationship challenges with their human parents, the divine father and mother (the sun and earth) are always here for us, and by creating a relationship with them, you can learn to feel at home in this physical experience no matter what your circumstances, or the environment that you find yourself. The sun is always giving its unconditional light everyday, while the mother earth provides energy for all forms of life on the planet. These two beings work in loving synergy together to continue the cycles of life on the planet.
By keeping the earth and the sun in your awareness throughout your day, you offer your gratitude to these divine beings for sustaining life, which also maintains your psychic and emotional connection with them. It may seem insignificant, but your intention to stay connected to the divine mother and father of the human experience can actually make a profound difference in your life. Practice bringing more awareness to the earth and sun during your day, taking time to acknowledge them as you walk outside, or as you perform various activities. Re-membering your relationship with nature can foster this memory of divine connection to all that is, energizing you, and supporting the process of awakening.
Energy From the Air
The air is filled with Life Energy, which is reflected in physical matter as negative ions, and you can access this energy to balance and heal your body through conscious breathing. Indian and Taoist spiritual masters understood the power of the breath and air to cultivate energy, and there are plenty of resources on different breathing techniques (beyond what I cover in this book) that may be helpful. My experience, however, has shown me that simply being aware of your breath, and implementing a few basic breathing patterns throughout your day, can make all the difference in your mental, emotional, and physical health. The breathing practices I like to use are; deep slow abdominal breathing, breath of fire, and pranayama (all of which I describe in other sections of this book).
The potency of Life Energy in the air (also known as prana, or chi) depends on the quality of air that you breath. Environments where there is an abundance of plant life and large bodies of water tend to contain the highest concentration of negatively charged ions. The areas surrounding rivers, lakes, and oceans, for instance, will contain a higher concentration of negatively charged ions, as compared to regions with less water. In addition, the short wave electromagnetic radiation from the sun creates negatively ionized air particles in the air, as is also the case with the evaporation of large bodies of water.
Conversely, environments devoid of large masses of plants, trees, or grass, will contain far less negatively charged ions (such as in big cities), which is one reason why you may feel more drained after spending extended periods of time in urban environments. Air pollutants such as chemicals, exhaust, smoke, or dust, all take the form of large polymolecular ions, and generally carry a positive charge, thereby negating the healthful effects of the negative ions in the air. Other factors that compromise air quality are closed spaces where air-flow is restricted, and environments with recycled air (such as planes or automobiles). Metal also tends to strip air molecules of their negative charge, which is why it is common to experience fatigue during or after driving.
The underlying principle that governs how much Life Energy is available in any given location is related to the relationship between yin and yang energy. It is well established that an electrical field exists between the earth and the atmosphere. This field consists of a positively charged atmosphere (yang) and the negatively charged earth (yin). In Western science, the polarity between these two fields is termed the “potential gradient,” which refers to the difference in voltage between the two points. The more plant life, water, and open space that exists in an area, the more negatively charged the air close to the surface of the earth will become. This higher concentration of negative ions allows for a greater charge to build between earth energy and atmospheric energy, increasing the potential gradient. This causes prana to flow more strongly, providing more Life Energy to all forms of life in a particular area.
If you cannot get out into nature for some exercise and deep breathing each day, consider investing in a commercial negative ion generator for your home or office, which will increase the quality of air that you breath on a daily basis. Breathing good quality air can increase energy, improve concentration, alertness, stamina, and mood. But remember, just as important as the quality of air you breath, is your conscious awareness of your breathing process. When we pay attention to the prana in the air as it flows into our bodies, we receive the most benefits, we feel more alive, and remember our connection to all of life. The air that you breathe is the same air coming from the forest, the earth, the ocean, the animals, and the atmosphere. In a certain sense, all of life is sharing the same breath of life.
An often over-looked form of nourishment is the inflow of energy that occurs through the exchange of emotional energy between people. When you interact with another person, you are giving and receiving your life energy with that person. When a person is unconscious of this process, it often leads to feeling drained or overextended during social interactions. However, social interaction, when engaged in consciously, nourishes all involved, and is an essential form of energy for each human being. We need and crave healthy social interactions for our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing.
To engage in social interactions consciously, simply notice your own energetic state, and make your priority that of taking care of yourself first, before extending yourself to another. By honoring your inner energetic state you can remain in balance, allowing yourself to give and receive emotional energy with others effortlessly. Be aware of how much time you are spending with others, and pay attention to when it becomes too much. Conversely, notice times when you have been alone for extended periods, and how that makes you feel. Notice the subtle balance in your life between healthy aloneness and healthy social interaction. Notice when you feel the energy of another creating negativity within you. In my experience, it is not actually the energy of others that creates the imbalance within, but rather, when we forget to take care of our own needs first, we can easily become reactive against the energy of others.
The Universal Energy
Each one of us also receives our energy from the Universe in the form of loving energy pouring out from within our Heart chakra. This energy flows through us more and more when we make the decision to be a divine vessel for love, and as we continue to dissolve the subtler layers of the ego. We do this by committing to using our mind, emotions, and body only for good, positivity, and love. When we do, we will find that we have access to a never-ending reservoir of energy. It is quite profound to notice how draining it feels when working towards the selfish desires of the ego, and conversely, how energizing it feels when giving your time and energy in the service to, and for the upliftment, of others. There are some days where I have spent the whole day working, engaging in positive and uplifting activities, and find that by the end of the day I feel so happy and am buzzing with energy. By maintaining a commitment to live in integrity, to maintain love and positivity, you are creating yourself to be a vessel for the Love of the Universe. It takes time and practice to integrate this way of being into your life, but by holding the intention to live your life in this way, it opens the door for this reality to manifest in your life.
If you find that you feel drained throughout your day, pay attention to the moments preceding feeling drained. What were your thoughts? What were you feeling? How were you perceiving life in that moment? And then investigate how you could shift your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions of the situation to be more loving, more compassionate, and more accepting. It is through acceptance, forgiveness and love we dissolve selfish desires, and connect to the higher intelligence. Offer gratitude to all life experiences, and all that you are given in each moment. Know that your Soul is on a journey that is being held by the loving energy of the universe, and the more that you relax and accept every situation, the quicker you can work through past “karma,” becoming a divine channel for the good of all. Adopting conscious nourishment and conscious spirituality will increase your overall holistic health.