Human instinct is, by far, the most powerful.
You don’t make it to the top of the food chain and dominate the earth without a strong will to survive. The human body is teeming with helpful triggers, armed and ready, that make it possible for us to remain the dominant species. These triggers work independently, like pain indicators, ready to stop the body from continuing a harmful task, but they can also work in tandem, sight and sound poised to alert us if our surroundings become hazardous, taste and smell ready to reject anything that could poison us, sending signals to eject the substance, if necessary.
Breath and reflexes, fight or flight, the search for knowledge- all there to keep us alive and well. In short, our body is constantly working to protect itself.
The body’s instinct, regarding food, is one that fascinates me. If you were lost in the jungle, in search of food, everything you dared put past your lips would pass a series of tests to determine the safety of the substance and if it was suitable for consumption. Visual cues, such as color, and fragrant or putrid aromas would indicate whether the substance could potentially harm us. The way the stuff tastes before it’s ingested could send off red flags or entice us to load up- It might be bitter or sour if it’s unsafe, signaling the body to spit or gag. It might also be sweet or savory if it’s acceptable.
Likewise, with individual genetic makeups. If you were lactose intolerant, for example, your body would send you signs it was having trouble processing for you to stay away. You’d also reap the painful consequences, spending a lot of time being miserable. As a result, you’d naturally make a point to avoid foods containing lactose to spare yourself the pain.
I’m allergic to Tylenol(acetaminophen/paracetamol.) If I want to survive, I must be very careful not to ingest it.
This is what I think about whenever I feel depressed or I see other miserable people. If we’re getting sick from certain influences, why are we continuing to consume them? How much garbage is clogging our system? How many toxic people are a part of our daily intake? How much stress do we swallow?
This is the equivalent of walking through the desert eating bugs to stay alive when we could be sitting on a beach being served the finest cuisine in the world.
Why not pick things out with purpose to put into our spirit, asking ourselves, “is this edible?” If we put as much effort into our physical well-being, why not do the same for our mental well-being? We should treat our mental health as we do our physical health when we have food allergies or a sensitive system.
We should spend just as much time protecting our spirit as we do our body, letting our head and our heart work in tandem for our survival.
For instance, I absolutely cannot be around people who love constant drama, so I purposefully make sure they aren’t a part of my spiritual diet. I treat them like an allergy, keeping them a safe distance away. Contact with certain people is inevitable, of course, but I can do my part in not inviting them in to stay. Instead, I select things I know are good for me, being around people who love to laugh and make light of day to day life, for example. I take walks, read, go out, stay in, talk, sleep on it, befriend, unfriend, based on my current needs. Why keep poisoning ourselves with toxic people and environments that clog our system or overrun it.
Meditation is an important part of my daily routine. It gives me a space where I can tend my spiritual garden. I decide what to plant and what weed out. I till the dirt and water my plants for survival. I don’t eat things that could be poisonous or life threatening.
It took me a while to be able to review my thoughts and process my emotions. I started small with homemade mantras, little phrases to remind myself of what was important today, “just relax,” “take your time,” “be grateful.” I practiced breathing and concentrating and now, I’ve realized how far I’ve come.
I’ve pulled so many toxins from my system and inserted so much richness instead, I can finally enjoy my day and look forward to tomorrow. I don’t dread the people or circles I’m mixed up in because I pay such close attention to my spiritual needs and who is healthy and an asset to my life. I listen to and nurture myself, more patience, less aggression, more passion, less solitude…etc. I want to be healthy and happy in every facet of life by asking myself, “Is this edible?”