Everyone knows that the drop is inside the ocean, but it is the rare one who knows the ocean is contained in the drop, says Kabir Das, one of the greatest poets of all time. In many cultures, the heart is seen as the container for our spirit. Yet it’s not the physical heart I speak of here, but a space of subtle energy that serves as the doorway to the inner world.
Just as the Universe contains us, our heart space or heart center contains the Universe.
So it is with eating. Huh?
I live by three simple rules when it comes to eating, well mostly, when I’m connected to my heart center.
1. Eat when I’m hungry.
2. Stop when I’m comfortable.
3. Eat whatever my body wants.
Sometimes though, the disconnection between my heart, brain, and stomach is like a little army inside is protecting me from falling into the abyss of self-pity, loneliness and deprivation. The troops say, “Go on, you’re bored, eat some chocolate. You’ll feel better.” Or “Hmmm, lunch time falls right in the middle of a meeting, I should eat more now so I won’t feel hunger.” Or I’m driving home and visions of every kind of food imaginable, Asian take-out, pizza, those delicate little fruit tarts at Whole Foods, hamburgers and tender beef at the local Venezuelan restaurant pop into my head – like, how crazy is that? I’m vegetarian. And I have food at home. Why am I even thinking about driving all over creation in search of food?
The heart center is the midpoint between Heaven and Earth so it’s said. It’s also the link of your awareness to and compassion for your body. When disconnected, eating spans the space of emptiness inside, it stuffs down and suppresses the emotions, sensations and thoughts that pervade that moment in time – feelings you really don’t want to feel. When connected, you feel love for yourself, an intimacy that is comfortable, clean, soft and open and you’re content. When centered in the heart space, the great spiritual emotions like compassion, forgiveness, gratitude, and joy arise from the heart.
Next time sans hunger you go off in search of emotional fulfillment through the vehicle of food, stop. Close your eyes. Breathe the breath of compassion into the space of the heart. Connect to your own fullness. Listen to your inner teacher. If you still want to eat, go for it. Mindfully and without judgment. Enjoy it to the fullest.