Reluctant Reality

Jai Bhagwan!

I like food; in fact, you could say that I can’t live without it.  Some of my favorite foods include Rindsrouladen (German beef rolls), medium rare steaks, hamburgers, chocolate, sugary things, cherry pies, cookies, Snickers, sugary things, cake, donuts, sugary things—did I say that already?  As one might expect, all the meals at AYI were vegetarian based—not completely vegetarian as eggs were part of many meals—which worried me some that such a change in my diet might cause . . . issues.  The reality is that I felt absolutely wonderful and I had no real digestive problems at all.  I cannot, however, say the same about my return home.  Yesterday, I grabbed a Snickers and some cookies from the vending machine upstairs . . . mmmm, chocolate.  Within five or ten minutes of having eaten the first cookie, I felt suddenly flushed and very hyperactive.  I could not focus on what I was doing.  The second cookie—no, I was not smart enough to eat only one—made matters worse and then the Snickers bar sent me right over the top.  About an hour later, I started to feel human again.  Then came a call from the front desk, there was extra food from the lunch meeting and I was welcome to scurry upstairs and grab a bite.  The beef literally melted in my mouth, the vegetables looked fantastic and the mashed potatoes looked just like heaven.  The potatoes were edible, the vegetables mushy and bland, and the meat tasted . . . unpleasant and sat in my stomach like a rock.  Thankfully, the breads were just as good as I remembered them.  I felt slightly better when others agreed that the vegetables were just awful but you’d think I had sprouted another head when I asked people about the meat and potatoes.

I went to Florida to improve my ability to teach Yoga, I did not expect to come back completely changed.  I knew what Yoga was about, I knew that it was more than exercise . . . that it was an internal, mental, spiritual discipline that simply used physical postures to help develop that discipline.  Clearly, however, I did not realize the true potential and power of Yoga.  I also did not recognize the subtle changes in myself nor the very profound impact of those oh so subtle changes.  Shanna, my wife, has always told me that I am very body conscious, I think the phrase unnaturally so fits in there somewhere.  That sense of being aware of what my body is doing has gone into overdrive; if I simply think about it for a moment, I can now feel the hairs on my toes.  I really couldn’t say if eating Snickers and cookies and a good—sans those over-cooked vegies—beefy meal would have bothered me in the least previously but now, there’s a GPS system hooked to my gut telling me exactly where that beefy meal is sitting.  On the flip side, I was pleasantly surprised to find rhubarb in the fridge yesterday morning and quite enjoyed chewing down a stalk or two.

So, what does it all mean?  Eric Walrabenstein, a co-director and instructor during the AYI training, put it rather well.  He said that for some, going to the movies, drinking a gallon of coke, eating a tub of popcorn and having the willies scared out of them watching Saw 43 might be a very stilling experience but for others it might be very distracting or disquieting.  It doesn’t take long for those who do not find such entertainment and food stilling to simply stop going to Saw movies and/or consuming gallons of soda and popcorn.  The same is basically true of everything we do; if, we are aware of our own stillness or if the consequences of our actions are large enough to make us take notice.  I intentionally bought another package of cookies and another Snickers bar about three hours ago.  I’m stilling feeling an annoying buzz and I actually feel slightly nauseated at the thought of eating cookies or candy bars.

So, where do I go now?  Do I give up sweets and meats and all the past joys of life?  Not wholesale, no; however, Snickers and the cookies upstairs are off my list.  What about meat?  Let’s just say that I am watching very carefully now.  I’m also looking at the Word of Wisdom in a very different light now, especially versus 12 & 13:

12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.

AyurvedaI am also looking much more closely at an Ayurvedic diet.  Jyotindra, John Mundahl, introduced us to Ayuveda during our training and my extremely limited experience with it to this point has been extremely positive.  Shanna has agreed to turning one day a week into an experiment on Ayurvedic diet.  I’ll post the results of each week’s experiment here.  Oh look!  A new subject icon!

Jai Bhagwan!