Our relationship with nourishment genuinely reflects our relationship with both giving and receiving love and compassion. Nourishment is the essence of life. Our connection to our spiritual life, our relationship with ourselves, our parents, our family and friends, our community, and to our society as a whole, are all based on the giving and receiving, or lack of giving and receiving, of love and nourishment.
Ideally we would make careful choices about what we bring into our lives and into our body, choosing partners, friendships, jobs, food, homes and other things based upon what is genuinely healthy for us. In reality, when we are unbalanced, lacking in knowledge, deprived, unconscious, influenced by others or rebellious, we often choose what will poison us, hurt us and set us further off balance. It is as though our ability to recognize or accept positive nourishment is lost, so that we choose short-term addiction, gratification of desires, or the comfort zone of familiar patterns of pain and suffering, even when we know that these choices are hurting us.
It is these choices that we make in life, which reveal the deepest reality of our relationship to our inner source of nourishment, and they are, in a sense, signposts that can guide us back to sane choices, which nurture our wellbeing, rather than causing harm. From the person who chooses junk food over real food, or chooses to purchase a house to impress others rather than a home they can feel truly comfortable in, to those who have a genuine sense of generous hospitality and the capacity to give and receive love, many are the ways that we reveal this core part of our being, and each choice we make has the power to teach us about the parts of our self that are healthy or are calling out for healing.
Formed from the earliest beginnings of our lives, perhaps even before our birth, our relationship to nourishment develops within the life pattern of our parents. Birth, our reception into the world, touching, talking, cuddling, and nursing, form our primal ground of nourishment, which continues through infancy, childhood and puberty. Partially in response to our parent’s capacity to give and receive love, and partially due to our own inherent capacities, we develop our sense of emptiness or fullness, a sense that is simultaneously reflected in the choices we make for ourselves.
Varying degrees of our needs are automatically provided for, and we either learn to ask for what we want or we don't, and we either get what we ask for, or we don’t. For all of us there are needs that we must learn to live without. We watch those around us work for, manipulate, seduce, steal or lie to get what they want out of the world, and we learn what gets results. Our personality forms around our ability to deal with acceptance or refusal.
We develop dreams, goals and ideas that we believe will give us the sense of fullness or satisfaction that we want, but most often when we attain them, we find that we are still hungry. This sense of emptiness, deprivation and starvation is strong, even in the wealthiest of families, and is in fact the common ground of modern society. A common ground capitalized upon by countless business savvy individuals and corporations around the world.
How often do we feel truly nourished in every aspect of our being, content, relaxed and at peace? This balanced state is relatively rare. More commonly we spend our time and energy seeking out things to ‘fill’ the space. Only temporarily do we feel satisfaction and completion. For most of us, hunger is our life experience.
By looking at our lifestyle habits and dietary choices, our relationships with family, friends, bosses, employees and other significant people in our lives, and also how we respond to our bodies and personal needs, it is possible to learn about our own personal relationship to nourishment, and begin the process of healing this core part of our being.