When considering your meditative practice, and the results you are getting from it, it is helpful to look at it from a holistic perspective. Yes there are the obvious contributing factors that determine your experience and success (ie: the technique itself, posture, your level of concentration at that moment, how long you’ve been practicing) but there are also a few less obvious contributing factors that can make a world of difference when it all comes down to it.
I was recently reminded of one of these factors over the last weekend, when I made a commitment to myself to begin fasting again.
Several years ago, I had been an adamant, one day per week faster. I would always go for one day each week without food. This was for the purpose of keeping my energy body clean, and it worked incredibly well, but over the past few years my discipline with this practice slipped, and I suppose it lost importance to me in my own mind.
So this last weekend I made the commitment to fast on Sunday, both for the spiritual benefits, but also because my poor digestive system needed a break. To make a long story short, it was wonderful. All day I could FEEL my body cleansing itself, discarding toxins and dead cells, and my digestive system felt great getting a rest. And even better, once I came off the fast, I had little desire to eat or drink anything unhealthy, artificial, or overly sugary. So from Monday up until today, I have been eating 85% raw and only unprocessed, whole food.
And all of this led me to remember one of the greatest benefits of being impeccable with your diet:
It GREATLY enhances meditation!
Not only can I slip into deep meditation easier, but I can also go deeper, and this mindfulness of being present in meditation is more easily overflowing into my day to day awareness.
When you consider the effort that one makes in training their mind to concentrate, silence itself, and go inward, this really feels like a shortcut to me. But don’t just take it from me and my experience. Here are 3 solid reasons why having a disciplined diet makes meditation that much better:
1. It Enables the Pineal Gland to Function Optimally
In many different philosophies, religions, and spiritual teachings, the pineal gland is considered to be central to one’s ability to experience their own true nature, and access heightened spiritual states. It is widely agreed that the pineal gland has the ability to “see” inner light (it has been found to have light receptors in it), and that it has the potential to be about the size of a ping pong ball. As of now in most individuals it is about the size of a pea, and does not do much in the area of spirituality.
One of the many detriments of an unhealthy diet is that it causes calcium and other types of build up around the pineal gland. When one sticks to a healthy diet the body is able to detoxify this build up, and will also cease to accumulate it in the first place. This enables the pineal gland to have a more profound effect on consciousness, especially during meditation.
2. Raw, Organic, Living Foods Feed and Balance Your Entire Energetic System
These types of healthy foods do not just nourish the body through nutrition and substance, they also nourish the energy body and the chakra system with life-force energy. It is a traditionally held belief in Yoga that one of the most critical ingredients in the process of reaching heightened states of awareness and eventually achieving union with God in meditation is the flow and health of the energy body, the chakras, and the associated channels and meridians that flow through the entire body and beyond.
In fact, if you were to learn meditation through traditional Raja Yoga, you would first be told to practice the Shat Kriyas, which are basically a collection of purification techniques, along with a Yogic diet (which includes raw food, and refraining from any mucous-causing foods) for upwards of a few years before you moved on to learning postures, Pranayama, and THEN meditation.
And just like we talked about the pineal gland playing an essential part in the process, the other glands of the body are also key to the health of the energy body. It has been known for centuries that each major gland in the body is associated to a major chakra. For example, the pituitary is related to the third eye, the thyroid is related to the throat chakra, and the thymus is related to the heart chakra. Eating healthy keeps these glands health and in harmony with the body, which strengthens the entire chakra system.
3. Nervousness, Restlessness, and Inability to Focus Are Largely Related to Toxins and Poor Diet
It’s true, what you eat has a huge effect on your ability to focus your awareness in meditation (and out of it too!). There are literally hundreds of toxins in our environment for our bodies and minds to deal with, and many of them have been scientifically tested and found to have a direct effect on our consciousness, our level of focus and concentration, our overall level of intelligence, and our ability to think clearly. It’s really something that everyone should research and understand, so they can make a more educated decision. Just a few to name are fluoride, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, monosodium glutamine, and propylene glycol.
And I promise you, if you are not making conscious effort to NOT ingest these, you are putting them in your body regularly.
A few more obvious things to consider that can affect your meditation in a negative way are excess caffeine, too much sugar, processed foods, and anything that the digestive system has a hard time digesting.
I’ll leave you one last reason to maintain a healthy diet as a means of enhancing your meditative practice. And this is a big one too.
Integrity to yourself.
When you exercise discipline and self-control in your diet, that intention and energy, that level of impeccability leaks out into all other areas of your life, including your meditative practice. For example if you tell yourself that you are not going to eat that fast food, or that you aren’t going to down that sugar-laden latte, and you follow through, you are sending a signal to your brain, and your unconscious mind that when you DECIDE you’re going to do something that you are GOING to do it. And when you do this, the mind responds more powerfully to your intentions in all areas of your life.
So when you sit down to meditate and decide that you are going to still your mind, sit quietly, and go inward, your mind responds to this intention by virtue of how you’ve trained it to respond.
Whoever you are, and whatever your current situation is right now, I challenge you to practice being impeccable with your diet so you can see these results in your practice yourself.
Here’s to you and your continued success!