Of Body & Soul

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Since each of us is a physical and spiritual being at the same time, everything in our life has a physical and a spiritual aspect to it. Even those things that seem simply physical in nature, such as our bodies, are in truth also spiritual. It makes sense then that if we go deeply into our relationship with our physical self that we will soon find ourselves in the realm of spirit. At the root of everything lies our relationship with God. We find Him wherever we look, even when we look into our bodily self as we struggle with weight. A spiritual approach to any pursuit — even one as seemingly mundane as weight loss — always brings us to a deeper truth. Some people who have an aversion to God are drawn to this deeper truth, while others who profess to be spiritual are secretly avoiding the truth. We can be in denial of the existence of God or of truth, but that doesn’t diminish the existence of either. The crucial thing to realise is that the realm of spirit is the realm of truth. Here, we can’t pretend to be something that we are not — we can’t be in denial of our choices and the fruits they bear. Being brutally honest with ourselves is standing naked before God. As long as we stay hidden in our proverbial clothes or avoid the scale, the truth-teller, we can’t have a close relationship with our creator. Physical truth: Mrs X’s most urgent truth was that she was making poor eating choices. Emotional truth: Acknowledging this truth led her to her next truth: that she eats for comfort when she is stressed. It was necessary for her to face the things that triggered her stress, allow herself to experience the stressful emotions she was escaping and learn to process them. Mental truth: This brought her to memories of verbal abuse that had stripped her of her self-esteem. Spiritual truth: Once we lifted the veil of shame and pain the belief had created, she saw the low self-esteem of her perpetrators and that she had been their scapegoat. The wound was exposed. She had been blamed for the worthlessness of others and had carried it as her own. She also saw that she was abusing herself with food. She had designated her body as her scapegoat. Standing naked before herself and God she requested love, forgiveness and healing. She saw the truth and was able to forgive her perpetrators for how their pain had come through them and onto her. She emerged more loved, and empowered with wisdom, understanding and compassion that she can thrive on. This is fulfillment at its best. When we let go of false beliefs about ourselves, space is opened in our hearts and minds for God to fill with love and truth. We no longer need extra sweets to make up for a lack of affection, fatty foods to cushion potential blows from abuse, or carbs to stifle our passion. We see our feelings as fuel for growth and healing and learn how to use them to experience God at work in our lives. Walking this path allows us to witness how our relationship with our world is divinely orchestrated based on our intentions rather than random and chaotic as we once thought. We can adopt new eating habits that nurture our new state of being. Once the real issues are addressed, eating healthily is easy and fun because there is no longer a purpose to unhealthy eating choices. And if we do find ourselves in some other struggle in the future, we know that it is just a heads-up from the universe, a signal that it is time to confront a truth that will bring us into even deeper intimacy with ourselves and God. When we make choices based on fear or shame, we are likely to avoid God, the source of truth and light, just as we avoid the scale. We don’t want him to see us; we flee from the truth as we avoid facing up to our own behaviour, whether it’s late night snacking or secret stashes of junk food. We tell ourselves we’ll talk to God when we are in a better place, just as we postpone pursuing our desires (buying that dress, seeking that relationship) until we lose a little weight. But avoiding the truth just prolongs our agony while it immobilises us.


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