The Pleasures and Discomforts of Eating

We are given a body that speaks to us, but so often seems removed from our spirit. Our body tells us about its pleasures and pains. Hunger is a type of pain that can be seen as part of the Buddha’s first Noble Truth: that living beings experience suffering. The silver lining in the pain of hunger is that it is easily satisfied (at least in our abundant society). However, the other side of the aisle is that we may overeat or develop an eating disorder.

When we are young, we can’t identify suffering. When our body says it is hungry, we become uncomfortable, cry, and hopefully, are fed. The discomfort is allayed. There may be other types of messages, such as bloating or gas. We may have not finished digesting one meal before it is time for the next. What do these messages tell us? As we grow up and learn to identify the sensations of our bodies, ideally, we rationally address these cues.

At a time when I was learning about my body, to relieve my hunger, and the emotional discomfort of the ongoing chaotic environment of my household, I discovered overeating. I overcame my normal sensations and, instead of gaining pleasure from eating just enough, and feeling satisfied, I created false pleasure in the feeling of being stuffed. My pattern of getting more and more stuffed went on for years. Eventually, spiritually, I felt guilty and created an inner-dialogue of shaming and blaming. Even a normal day, that may contain stomach upset, hunger pains, and cramps, caused fear and other emotions. Rather than just listening to my body, I listened to my incorrect self-talk.

Rather than seeing hunger as a potential interaction with the Divine, I saw it as combat with myself.

Over the course of our blogs, we will go into detail about the complexity of emotions involving food. But, this post is dedicated to the small voices of our body. Bodily discomforts are there for a reason, and they are signals to act. Some days, we experience mild hunger pains reminding us it’s meal time, and other days, we feel unexpectedly ravenous. Some days, we feel satisfied eating properly with no bodily sensations except enjoying the good taste of food. This is when we are at our best and there is equanimity between body and spirit.

According to our program, the main Sephirah (sphere) on the Tree of Life that connects our minds and bodies is Yesod (Foundations). The fact that they coexist in one space reveals that we need to be highly cognizant of what our bodies and our minds transmit. One might be telling us to eat, and the other, something entirely different–for example, that we are suffering about a different situation than mere hunger. Losing touch with the cues that our Yesod sends may cause overeating, vomiting, (in disorders such as in bulimia) or starving. The inability to really hear our bodies is so rampant that a huge industry is build around the suffering of hunger.

Kabbalah-Dieting is here to help you with the spiritual side of dieting using 3 Sacred Words. Today, I am using “Vigor,” one of my Words, to deal with my authentic spiritual suffering. I described this challenge in the first Kabbalah-Dieting blog post. In Blog 3, we will explore tricks and techniques in spiritual dieting. In the meantime, contact Malka for Kabbalah-Dieting coaching, or other questions about Kabbalah-Dieting.