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Fighting Spiritual Obesity

November 26, 2011

We are a society obsessed with calories regardless of whether they are nutritional, intellectual, or spiritual.  We have diet soda, calorie free snacks, lite beer, thought free entertainment and substance-free beliefs.

Instead of choosing those things that hold the most nutritional value, most people pick what tastes good or has the best packaging or is the most convenient to warm up or that can fit into their schedule or into their lunchbox, or into their life.

The result, of course, is a crises of physical and spiritual obesity combined with mental anorexia; flabby bodies, bloated beliefs and weak minds; all suffering from a lack of any real substance; from the ingestion of too much convenience food; too many processed and chemically or genetically altered  beliefs.

Do you think you’re immune?  Do you think that just because you adhere to a particular belief system, have a college degree or practice a specific sort of physical exercise that you are spiritual, physically or mentally fit?  Think again!  In fact, chances are that if you adhere to one belief system, one way of looking at things intellectually, or one type of exercise that you only have the illusion of fitness.

Let’s take a look at diets and religions.

Religions are like the exercise programs and diets that you find in the self-help books.  You’ve seen them; the age defying diet, the muscle builder’s diet, the tummy fat diet, the pregnancy diet.  All of them specialize in one particular area, and they are good at what they do!  But they don’t address all of the issues.  They leave a lot out and, while by following the program you’ll feel a bit better; more in control; none of them teach you how to tone your whole body, and no religion addresses all of the issues, though each of them is good at what they DO teach.

But just like following one diet will get that part of you in shape, so too does following one religion address one particular aspect of your spiritual needs.  Look at them!  If you are Islamic, the main issues are pride vs. peace.  For Christianity it is sin vs. salvation, for Confucianism it is chaos vs. order, for Buddhism it is suffering vs. nirvana, for Judaism it is exile from god vs. return to god, Hinduism is endless misery via reincarnation vs. spiritual liberation, and in Taoism it is lifelessness vs. life.

Each will tell you that by following THIS path you will find hope, peace, salvation or order just as each diet out there tells you that you will obtain the body you’ve always wanted by following the guidelines in THIS book.  But there is one thing that every religion and every diet fails to take into consideration, and that is the fact that every individual on the planet is unique, and that each needs a different approach not only to nutrition, but to spiritual sustenance as well.

This realization of individuality when it comes to nutrition as well as mental spiritual substance does not mean that you simply pick and choose those diets or religions or ideas that taste the best, that smell the best, that you enjoy eating or thinking about.  This does not mean that you choose the exercise of least resistance; diet that is the easiest to stick to; the religion that makes you feel the best about yourself, and the entertainments that provide you with the most mindless entertainment.

No, what this means is that it is time to go beyond the ‘recommended daily allowance’ beyond the self-help books, beyond the ideas and beliefs that are dished out as “healthy” by our governments, societies and religions.  It is time to stop simply following a way that we have been told is right and instead get to know our own bodies and minds and spirits. Listen to your body; to your heart; to your inner essence; to that core that speaks to you in the language of the soul.

Listen and then follow its direction, even if it takes you in directions that make the flabby and out-of-shape part of you feel uncomfortable; even if it challenges ideas and beliefs that you have always held to be right.  LISTEN.  Find out what your body needs, what your heart desires and what makes your soul sing.  Listen to them and create for yourself the person that you were meant to be and the life that you were meant to live.

 

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