How Complicated We Are!
Body, mind, and more
Many things are simple. Chocolate, for example, is simple.
But we are not.
So, I'm going to use our relationship with chocolate to help you understand how your mind and body work, and how you can bring yourself wonderful health and long life.
Here's the complicated challenge we face. Everything we touch or eat affects us on many levels - the body, the emotions, the mind, and more. I'll share with you all of the levels I've found that matter in over 30 years of healing and growing and helping others to heal.
We'll start with a simple piece of chocolate with an almond in it. It is very pure, organic chocolate. Now, what happens when you, or I, are given that little chocolate as a gift, and we consider eating it? The answer: The chocolate is the same, but we are all different, in eight aspects of our being.
One chocolate, eight experiences
So, here we are, about to eat a piece of organic chocolate with an almond in it. That's going to hit each of us - you, me, and anyone else - in eight different ways. Yes, eight!
- Physical structural - a person with a cracked tooth might split the tooth on the almond. Ouch! People with weak teeth have to be careful eating nuts. Others don't even think about it.
- Physical chemical - one person might be allergic to chocolate. Another, with hypoglycemia or diabetes, might have a bad reaction to the sugar and caffiene. Others will have no problem at all, and maybe get a bit of a lift.
- Emotional chemical - Chocolate contains three chemicals that affect our mood: phenyethylamine, which we produce when we fall in love; theobromine, which dilates blood vessels and gives us a rush; and tryptophan, which increases serotonin, creating a mild pleasant feeling. So everyone will feel good when we eat chocolate - if we're not busting out in hives from an allergy!
- Mental, or ideas and culture - Suppose this chocolate is heart-shaped, and given on Valentine's day. What if it's from someone you hope loves you? What if it's from a dweeb you hope never to talk to again? Our ideas - especially ideas linked to strong feelings or to culture - change the whole picture.
- Energetic - Suppose the chocolate is a gift from an old friend. This brings forth memories - happy or melancholy. Our mood shifts - and that's more than just feeling or emotion. Our mood includes an energy. We might feel like dancing for joy, or sitting quietly and reminiscing. So our energy shifts with each experience.
- Soul - Suppose we have a deep, inner passion for social justice. We might not want to eat the chocolate unless we know it was produced and sold via fair trade, and that the producers are not being exploited. Our soul's connection to society and the world make a difference, too.
- Spirit - Chocolate is called a "food of the gods" because, in ancient times in Mexico, it was a sacred food for kings. Or, at least, we thought so until recently. Now, we know commoners have eaten chocolate for over a thousand years among the Maya and Aztec. But that doesn't stop us today from thanking God for chocolate, or from putting a bit of it on an altar as an offering.
I've used chocolate, but clearly any food - or activity - can affect each person differently at any of these eight levels. (There are even religious sects that consider running to be sacred!)
So, we are complicated, even when our foods and activities are simple. And modern foods contain dozens of ingredients.
Is there a simple way of knowing what is healthy to eat and to do?
As simple as possible
Albert Einstein said, "Make everything as simple as possible, but not simpler." Well, all eight levels of our body, feelings, and mind are real, and might be affected by what we do. We can't simplify ourselves. Also, foods, exercise, and such are all complicated. They are what they are, and we can't simplify them.
The one thing we can simplify is our choices.
And we can simplify our choices by being self-aware, by knowing what works for us, and what doesn't. Here are several ways to do this:
- Know what works, and what doesn't - If we have strong teeth, don't worry about eating nuts. If we have good knees, it's okay to run . . .
- Know our limits - . . . but not to run on concrete. No one's knees can handle that!
- Watch how we feel - intuitions and gut reactions will warn us what isn't healthy for us, even when we don't know why. Pay attention!
- Try a little before we go for a lot - Most of the time (severe allergies are an exception!), we can test just a little of something, and let it go, or go for more, depending on how we feel.
- Use what we know - Let's know our allergies and sensitivities, read labels, and keep in mind what we've learned.
So, I encourage awareness, self-knowledge, common sense, and self-trust.
I also encourage moderation in all things - including moderation! Every once in a while, go for broke! Eat that big wedge of chocolate cake! Take a five mile walk or run! . . . But probably not at the same time!