Have you ever noticed how we spend so much attention on feeding our bodies and our tastes? Rarely do we miss a meal. But it’s well beyond that. We pay a lot of attention to enjoying our food and getting the best dining experiences. Sometimes, food is the ultimate epitome of a celebration in our lives.
And there’s nothing wrong with it; great experiences and comfort, to a degree, are part of a wholesome and fulfilling life, no matter which aspect of our lives they are related to. But our attention is not proportionately spent in enriching our lives equally in all of its facets. Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs says that our attention is centered around what our body needs most of all and safety, i.e., the base of Maslow’s pyramid. After those needs are satisfied, it moves higher to fulfill our emotional and esteem-related needs. Finally, our spiritual needs or higher purpose sit at the peak of the pyramid. It’s not hard to see that the higher tiers of the pyramid require greater effort and energy, in part because they come much later in the hierarchy and are harder to get to. The other reason is that searching and seeking out the best and quickest ways to satisfy our spiritual needs are not easy to find.
The good news is that you’re in good hands now. In Sahaja, there’s a lot of experience and methods in giving equal, if not greater, emphasis on feeding our soul with rich experiences. In our busy lives and amidst all the challenges, nourishing our spiritual being requires careful planning and insights into how experienced meditators do it.
Drawing comparisons between how we feed our body and our soul can help us understand this in greater detail.
Spiritual hunger: seeking
Let’s start with the primary feeling that drives us to eat – hunger. The spiritual equivalent is the seeking within us for Higher Purpose in our lives, the thirst for us to experience the highest and most coveted state of spirituality. If you are reading this article, it’s clear that this thirst brought you to something like Sahaja in the first place. But do we all have the same intensity of hunger for self-improvement weeks, months or years after that first Self-Realization experience? Do we have the zeal for constantly rising to higher states in our spiritual journey?
Introspection creates the hunger within us to improve, and so does being in collectivity. And so, making both of these a weekly exercise, possibly several times a week, keeps up the appetite and propels our self-improvement in our spiritual journey.
Our introspection process must involve asking ourselves about our commitment to the most important and ultimate goal in our lives and if we are heading in the right direction, despite any challenges or detours in the short term. It must make us question the quantity and quality of the time we’re spending, but more importantly if the outcomes we desire are being met. The most important outcome must be transforming the inner self and our personality gradually.
As far as collectivity goes, Sahaja has many options to join a group meeting either online or in person, and there should be no thinking or debate about whether or why we need it. Just go for it.
The food for the soul
Next is the equivalent of the food we feed our body. The soul and the spiritual inner being need the divine energy of the universe. The best part, unlike food on this earth, is that it is an infinite source. We connect ourselves to this source through practices like Sahaja as often as we want and we can recharge our spiritual being endlessly. Feeding our soul, therefore, is about having access to this energy as much as we can.
The food pipe – the Central channel and the connection
The food we eat passes through a relatively intricate physiological system in our body and results in energy for carrying out our physical, mental and emotional processes. Likewise, our soul is fed through even more intricate and complex systems of the Kundalini energy, the chakras and the energy channels. As the Kundalini energy rises and passes through the chakras, it opens up or widens the Central energy channel, rises beyond the 6th chakra in the forehead region and into the brain. Then it helps our soul or spirit become one with the all-pervading divine energy of the universe. This energy then flows back into the system and nourishes all our chakras and energy channels.
This vital energy governs all our spiritual, physical, mental and emotional functioning and achieves a holistic balance.
Eating food gives us physiological and biological balance, but revitalizing our spiritual system with divine energy gives us holistic balance in our lives and harmony with nature. It feeds our personality strengths and our innate transformation.
How do we give the spiritual system what it needs?
By being in the state of meditation or that higher state of consciousness. It is in this state that we absorb the energy the most. This state also keeps the conduits for the flow of the Kundalini energy open and clear – the central energy channel. So the more time we spend in this higher state, the more we get energized. Hence, more meditation and more powerful meditation are our clear goals.
The quality of meditation is also important.
Just as both the quantity and quality of the food we eat are important for our health, the quality of meditation is as important as the time spent on it. The quality of meditation is measured by the extent of the absence of thoughts or the Thoughtless Awareness state. A high-quality meditation session makes it easy for our attention to remain in the higher state and quite effortless.
But, there’s another longer-term measure of the quality of our meditation. Over time, it will cause us to become more patient, detached, balanced, mature, and joyous.
Planning the nourishment for the soul
It is typical for us to focus on our three meals in a day and how we’re going to nourish our bodies. In a similar manner, it is equally, if not more important to plan out our meditation routine. Just as breakfast is King, morning meditation is vital and has tremendous benefits. It sets the tone for the rest of the day. A short session of introspection and meditating in nature during our lunch break or mid-day can do a lot to nourish our attention. And a nice session of foot soaking and meditation around dinner time can round out our plan for spiritual replenishment each day.
Special dining – collective meditation
We get excited about dining out and tasting exotic cuisines – the equivalent of this is collective meditation for our soul. It takes our meditative experience to an entirely new level. It exposes to newer experiences and spiritual knowledge that helps us expand our horizons in our spiritual pursuits.
Is there an equivalent of fasting in the spiritual parlance?
Fasting, when done right, helps the body clear our system of toxins and helps our digestive system restore its peak performance. During fasting, we avoid our typical heavy and rich diet.
A good analogy of fasting in meditation could be to starve negativity through attentional control. This means we could take periods to declutter our attention of all non-essential activities and focus just on clearing our spiritual system and deep meditation. It can also be periods where we decide to cut out all our involvement in other areas of our lives where we tend to get affected by negative forces. There are plenty of them around us – negative news from the media, debates and arguments and even our materialistic pursuits. So we could start fasting and take a break from all such sources that drag our attention down rather than energize it. Doing such an “attention cleanse” can be a great way to get past temporary obstacles and plateaus in our spiritual journey.
It’s a well-known practice amongst Sahaja practitioners to take some weeks or months off, spending a simpler, quieter, and collective life at a seminar or offsite camp or retreat.
Becoming a connoisseur of the subtler experience
Just as fine dining experiences are a treat to our senses, over time, developing sensitivity to powerful spiritual experiences gives us subtlety and appreciation of the finer aspects in life. Our life and its paradigms shift significantly to correlate the quality of our life to these subtler, spiritual experiences. We’ll seek as many opportunities as we can grab, for places, people, and company filled with positive energy and vibrations. When faced with making choices between the finest and most expensive vacation or dinner and the deep spiritual enjoyment, we’ll have no hesitation choosing the latter. And it will likely cost us next to nothing. We’ll realize that money can’t get us the greatest and the ultimate experiences in life. Our perspective about life changes and simplicity unfolds. This gives a great sense of satisfaction and the feeling of being a free spirit, but in complete control of ourselves.
More importantly, we’ll know the art of feeding our soul and giving it what it needs. And we’ll have no doubts that feeding our soul is what we’ve wanted all along in our lives.