As a nutritional therapist and a meditation teacher, I’m seeing a lot of parallels in how we nourish ourselves spiritually. I want to share some concepts with you that might really help your meditation practice.
Remember when fad diets were a thing? Every summer there’d be a new trend of low carb, no-carb, low fat, high fat, and each one would work for about 30% of people and the rest of us not so much? That’s because, of course, we are all individual and unique – we each have a different balance of energies inside of us and need different things.
The same is true for our spiritual nutrition and I feel spirituality is starting to go through the revolution that diet has. It’s more complex than ‘just eat food’! We need to find the right kind of spiritual nourishment for each of us as complex beings.
Intuitive Eating For the Soul
It’s wonderful seeing so many people learning how to intuitively eat the right food for their body and move away from the ‘one size fits all’ approach. As a nutritional therapist, I would encourage clients to try certain balances of food groups (based on what I’d learnt about them and their lifestyle) and experiment with how they felt over a few weeks at least (unless of course, they had an adverse reaction).
The same is true for meditation. We all have a unique makeup and different balance of energies and so our meditation practice can reflect that. For example, some people are naturally more heart centred, they find it easy to love but they get spaced out easily, and can drift and daydream from meditation, rather than spacing IN. These kinds of people generally are naturals at heart-centered meditations but can benefit from strengthening their capacity for Presence.
Other people can then sometimes be more focused with their attention, but lacking the love aspect. Without love, meditation can become really dry, and again this kind of person may find that they are not really able to penetrate into the meditation experience, so a completely different technique would be needed here.
Meditation is about being able to ‘balance’ our human aspect – thoughts, emotions, body sensations so that we can reach a stillness that is conducive to connecting with the subtle aspect of our being. The being is our eternal aspect that is omnipresent, infinite and our essence.
From person to person the techniques required to balance our human side can change. What emotions are we experiencing, how busy is our mind? From there, after some time you can use the meditation techniques that are going to be most effective for you.
Now just like a diet, I don’t always recommend this straight away. You first need to go through the experience of trying different things and experiencing their impact on you or ideally be working with a guide or teacher. You have to build a solid foundation first for this to truly work. Otherwise mixing things up every day you might never really know its impact.
We need to tune into what is right for us, try a few things properly, and stick with what feels right for us at that time.
Deficiency and Toxic Mimics in Spiritual Nutrition
Another favourite parallel I like to bring into the Spiritual Nutrition conversation is about what happens when we are deficient in something?
In nutrition when the body is deficient it’s more prone to absorbing toxic mimics – an example is with plastics that can leach and bind to cells in the body that affect hormones – we call them chemical hormone disruptors.
Our society has many spiritual ‘toxic mimics’ today that can affect us. I think the classic is drugs and alcohol – they are what most people want to reach for to feel ‘high’, to escape from life – when what they are so desperately seeking in that connection and union with the divine.
A specific example here could be the drug ecstasy. In fact when you even mention ecstasy or google it, it most commonly refers to the recreational drug. But there is another ecstasy, and that is the ecstasy that comes from being in contact with the divine aspect of you.
Many people newer to meditation or spiritual teachings are familiar with the idea of bliss or peace, but ecstasy is also a divine feeling, outlined by Osho. The word literally translates to mean ‘step out of the mundane, to step out of the ego’. So whilst peace and bliss are great, this divine ecstasy is also a spiritual ‘nutrient’ and which we in our life too. This not to be confused with just the odd rush of excitement either, which is then often followed by feeling dull – but that pure ecstasy of connection, of touching your own being that makes you feel satisfied and alive.
Sound, Ecstasy, Presence, working with the Inner Senses are all forms of Spiritual Nourishment and when we don’t work with them on the spiritual level, we’ll instead absorb toxic mimics from the outside that leave us feeling unsatisfied and can block the way we connect with ourselves also.
Empty Calories in your Spiritual Practice
Over the last decade, people have really taken notice of the quality of food they ingest. There are often lots of tricky in marketing about what is actually healthy, and we’ve had to learn to be really discerning. We also really need to assess the quality of the spiritual teachings and practices we take in. Not just the practice itself but HOW we are doing it – if we do a practice absent-mindedly there’s no ‘nutrition’ in it – it’s basically equivalent to empty calories. If we do a ritual, meditation or yoga practice and we’re not truly ‘there’, doing something robotically it’s not going to have the same impact on us.
Ultimately the core nutrient is Presence, that deep connection with the divine in us, letting that guide us to see what is truly nourishing us spiritually.
Belinda Matwali is a meditation teacher and electronic music enthusiast who is passionate about making meditation accessible and fun for all. She’s been learning meditation with her Master in India for the last 8 years as well as studying sound therapy and nutritional therapy. She loves connecting the dots between her passions to create some real ‘aha’ moment revelations and brings this energy into her courses, classes and 1-2-1 sessions. She’s traveled the world and lived in Bali, Rio de Janeiro, Berlin, Ibiza and now London. Learn about her meditation courses Addicted To Being, Ecstasy Now, Flow and private bespoke meditation sessions here.