Serving at a Vipassana meditation retreat while cooking for 90 people three times a day was quite the surreal experience. Especially given that I prefer not eating or eating just once or twice a month. I stood in that kitchen and had this surreal experience where the chaos around me seemed to make everything stop and as if in slow motion, I witnessed the insanity of this exercise.
‘Our bodies are bottomless pits!' I heard myself thinking.
‘What goes in at the top makes its way downward until it exits at the bottom. Strange, why eat at all?' I wondered.
Then I realized that energy traveling downhill travels much faster than energy traveling uphill. And yet the taste buds are at the top, the very entry way of this miserable cycle. Once food has left the mouth and makes its way down the esophagus, we no longer taste it. And yet the majority of people gobble their food down half masticated and on complete auto-pilot, not even enjoying the process of becoming one with food. The tiny particles that make flavors burst in our mouth as our vegan-built teeth chop food into a form of puree (ideally), never get to explode in most people's mouth because people are in such a hurry to eat and because most people are not consciously eating. Their attention is elsewhere, and so they are rarely present in this process.
I tried to get away with not eating at all and I felt like such a fraud witnessing these realizations and yet having to participate because fasting is not permitted at Vipassana retreats. Then I realized that the whole point of Vipassana is to “see things as they are.” Why force someone to eat?
Thankfully I made a decision a few years ago and programmed my body so I can take it or leave it. I'm not orthorexic (obsessed with healthy foods) and although I don't use my body as a graveyard for other Being's body parts, when I'm offered a cookie I want to have the freedom to say ‘yes' or ‘no,' depending on how I feel in that very moment. That to me is true freedom.
Do We Dream Because of Food?
Now that I've served for 13 days and I'm back home, I love getting back to my natural state of emptiness. It's hard for me to eat as I dream when I eat, and I don't when I'm empty. I've long since disagreed with Freud's interpretation of what dreams are. In fact, I disagree with most people's interpretation of why we dream. Foods are recording devices as much as your body is a recording device. And every person who touches the food, from the person who prepped the soil to the farmer who planted the seed, to the person who tended to the foods unfolding to the people who harvested and packaged the food, to the numerous people who delivered the food so it would eventually end up in our store – all of these people's energy is contained in our food.
If you doubt this, just think of a child who goes from foster home to foster home and eventually becomes an adult. This adult will forever be marked by the experiences he or she had while living in various foster homes and it marks who s/he eventually becomes as an adult. No amount of therapy will ever erase that child's memory.
Food grown undergoes the exact same process. Sadly, the majority of our food today is neither grown nor delivered with love. Of course our soul then responds by working through the food's experience by resolving what needs to be resolved.
No, I don't think that's the only reason we dream. There are many other causes as well. Such as desires, last thing you read or watched on TV before going to bed, and many other things.
It is peculiar, however, that I don't dream when I don't eat. It's also much easier to resolve every day issues much, much quicker when the body is not down trodden and busy eliminating food. Then the body can focus on what's really important.
I know, I know, tough to understand with the intellect. It really is something we have to experience to believe it. Sadly, I must warn the readers and listeners not to attempt this at home. Not eating is not normal and can cost you your life. Don't be stupid or ignorant. Use your head, follow your intuition and do what's right to stay healthy.
Enjoy the podcast!