Excerpted from The Yoga of Discipline
By Swami Chidvilasanada
Food is Brahman. Food is God. Food is the healing herb. When you recognize food as scintillating Consciousness, then your whole relationship with it is altered. Food is a blessed gift of the Lord. Embrace it gracefully and have respect for it. The food you eat must be light enough to digest easily, beautiful to look at, and nourishing in its effect.
When restraint and reverence become part of your daily eating, then your life is filled with happiness and worship. To maintain a healthy body, you must not take too much food. There should remain a pleasant hunger in your stomach as this will support your physical health. You will extinguish your digestive fire if you overload your stomach.
Food is health, and food is disease. Undigested food is a breeding ground for illnesses.
Eat that which is good for your blood, your health, your mind, your brain, and your general well-being. Eat frugally, only as much as you need. Eat what is appropriate in a particular season. Follow these three principles and you will be free from disease.
The Upanishad, an ancient Indian scripture, says that if your food is pure, it will make your mind pure. With a pure mind, your character and your higher understanding will all evolve. When your food is pure, you can soar into ecstasy.
Respect your body as the temple of your deity. Discipline in eating fills you with spiritual radiance. It is a cause for celebration.
When there is still a bit of hunger left in the stomach, stop eating. You should be feeling light, your hunger is satiated, but you are feeling light. You can still feel a little space in the stomach.
Discipline in eating is very relevant to a person’s progress on the spiritual path. Food is your prana, your very life. Eat with discipline. Eat with regularity.
When food is eaten as a sacred ritual, the effect it has on you is quite extraordinary. When you eat, it should be worship.
Familiarize yourself with your stomach, and offer homage to the divine inner fire that will digest your food.
Of all the things a seeker willingly renounces in his yearning for the goal, bad eating habits are usually the last to go and the hardest to give up.
You have to transcend the desire for food that makes you ill. You must develop new habits and practice them at least three times a day.
Disciplined eating has nothing to do with being fat or thin. We are not talking about the way the body looks—whether it is lean or fat. Once there is discipline in eating, your body will naturally and automatically look and feel the way it should.
When there is no respect for food, your body becomes a kind of haunted house. All sorts of fears and insecurities breed inside you, and you try to smother them with food, food, and more food. Whenever you are indulging in insecurities, try to understand what you have eaten.
When you become too attached to your body, you lose your self-control.
Believe it or not, laziness is caused mainly by a lack of discipline in eating. When eating is undisciplined, all the internal organs become sluggish from overwork. Laziness of the body, laziness of the mind, laziness of the heart – these things can often be traced to foolish, destructive eating.
Once the stomach is upset, your thoughts become very negative.
Discipline in eating does not only refer to what you eat, but when you eat, combining the right foods and choosing foods good for your body.
What it boils down to is that you pay attention to your own body. When your stomach feels good, consider what you have eaten. The body, heart and mind will have more balance when you become conscious of what you put in your mouth.
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