FROM SUPERFICIAL TO SPIRITUAL
If you are like most who suffer from an eating disorder, you are disconnected from, and most likely even at war with, your body. Your mind is in a state of constant chatter, judgment, and comparison. You are critical of yourself and others, out of balance, caught in habitual behavior patterns, and living in the past or future. You are unaware of your true essence beyond your body and your mind, because the environment we live in provides little mentoring to help you understand and develop who and what you truly are beyond these things. An eating disorder is the epitome of disconnect between body, mind, and spirit. Reconnecting will not only help you heal, but bring deeper meaning and purpose to your life. This might seem like a far-out or impossible task, or you might be wondering what the heck we are even talking about, but with guidance, what might seem odd, difficult, or impossible can become a natural part of the way you live.
Like most people, you want comfort, security, love, and happiness, but as long as you are striving to achieve any of these things through the pursuit of thinness or the comfort of food, your behaviors may have meaning and purpose temporarily, but they will keep you in a state of striving, misery, and unhappiness. You have fallen into the illusion that your worth is tied to the external, what you own, what you accomplish, and particularly how you look. Furthermore, you may not fully realize that it is your own thoughts and behaviors keeping you from the happiness you seek, and there is a way to overcome that.
Even if you partake in religious or spiritual teachings, these can hardly compare with the amount of energy poured into you through thousands of hours of media and advertising, all conditioning us into believing that humans exist to look good, work, earn money, and get stuff. Image consciousness has replaced spiritual consciousness, and consumerism has become the dominant world faith. It is no wonder you feel disconnected, empty, and search for connection, meaning, and fulfillment in places where they cannot be found.
Like us, you were trained to look for happiness as if it is a state outside yourself that you can somehow reach. Unfortunately, happiness is never finally reached, it is a feeling that comes and goes. However, you can learn to experience more happiness if you understand the You that is the witnessing presence, and strive to live your life from this deeper state of awareness. Doing so will not only increase your happiness but bring you far more peace and contentment.
The concepts of spirituality and soul usually bring up old connotations and meanings that do not apply here, so please bear with us as we explain what we mean by these terms. Being spiritual does not mean you have to follow any religious dogmas or believe in concepts or beings that you can’t prove exist. The root of the word spirit is spiritus, Latin for breath, which basically means life force. Current scientific knowledge of the universe reveals that the life force inside of us is the same as that connected to everything else. The atoms that everything is made of you, me, the stars, the trees, the ocean, clouds, dogs, elephants, ants, your carpet, this secrets are all made up of the same basic life force. Whatever you call it, energy field, spirit, awareness, chi, quantum field, God, or consciousness, its existence is an awesome reality that most of us don’t take time to fully appreciate. Ancient wisdom and modern science both point the way to an understanding of our selves and our world that extends far beyond our limited sense of self and separateness. You may have heard about such concepts, but most of us can barely, if at all, understand them Your spirituality is about your understanding of and actions toward transcending a limited sense of self by recognizing this life force as your intrinsic essence and your connection to all other beings and the world around you.
Whether you have strong religious beliefs, or you are turned off by religion because you cannot accept what can’t be proven, or you believe scientific evidence contradicts religious beliefs, what we will share with you about leading a more spiritual, soulful life will not be incompatible with any of these stances.
Quantum physics shatters our ways of thinking about the nature of reality and reinforces ancient eastern spiritual traditions like those found in Buddhism. Both teach about the energy field as the source of oneness connecting all things. Both help us transcend our narrow concept of self, opening up a whole new world of potential. Thus the spirituality we speak of is grounded in ancient practices, as well as a scientific understanding of the universe.
Scientific knowledge, however awesome it may be, is likely not enough to help you live a more spiritual life. Our scientific explanation for the things in our universe is cognitive and abstract. We don’t feel it. It is as if scientific knowledge excludes a spiritual or transcendental understanding, but this is not at all true. To comprehend the spiritual nature of the universe, including yourself, you have to experience it, embody it. Mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation were designed for just such an embodied experience. In fact, Buddhism is a set of principles designed to help human beings quiet the ceaseless chattering mind of our ego, and sit in the seat of awareness, consciousness or soul realizing our true nature and connection to the bigger whole. We hope to give you exercises and assignments that will help you do just that.
Gwen: If you are like me, your head is already spinning and telling you to stop reading this stuff and go back to the Keys dealing with more concrete things. Try to ignore those thoughts for now. There is no harm in reading on who knows, you might be surprised. I can promise that we won’t advocate giving up your religion or adopting some new one. We will only describe things you can check out for yourself and decide if they are true or fit for you.