Chewing My Food

 is the latest habit I have internalized in my routine. To be honest I am still trying. For most of my life I’ve been a fast eater. I can’t complain. My working parents were fast eaters and so were my siblings. I tried sometimes to chew my food well but it didn’t stick. It seemed natural to gulp it down rapidly. My grandmother took her food slowly but I didn’t mimic her. In my school a friend used to take his time to eat and I was just the opposite. He used to take about half an hour to finish a meal and it took me about 5-10 minutes mostly. Even in Vrindavana–the place of pilgrimage where I lived as a monk for about an year I used to be the fastest finisher. There were many monks eating together. I used to serve food to all along with another companion. By the time we used to finish serving food many monks had already almost finished eating but still we used to be the fastest finishers. I have sometimes taken a kind of pride in being a rapid eater. Many times I made it a kind of challenge. I remember once as a young kid I was at my maternal grandmother’s place and my many cousins were there as well. We used to gather there during summer vacations and had fun together. Once we were eating together and I challenged everyone about eating. There was one cousin elder to me and rest were younger to me. As we started eating I beat everyone and did it faster than everyone. My tally was 18 chapatis and the second ranker was 13 chapatis. My aunts and maternal grandmother were shocked because their stock was exhausted by our raid. We had fun. There are many similar incidents even from my adulthood but the point is not to exalt this habit. It’s rather to condemn it. At once my digestion might have been good. Though it was not excellent because I was always thinking-brooding type–I was very active physically still it couldn’t cope for fast and over-eating.

I managed to become a very moderate eater by my mid-twenties–that’s about 5 years ago. Still, I used to cross limits sometime. I gained a very strict discipline by 2012. Now it’s strict like military regime. I eat very moderately and selectively. But the habit of not chewing my food didn’t leave me. After 2016’s death my routine totally changed and I included many good habits in it but I kept wondering why I couldn’t change this one habit. Since the beginning of full-blown awakening in 2012–when Kundalini reached the Crown Chakra–my digestion suffered because my habits were not aligned with flow of energy. I have had many bowel movements every single day. Even now I’ve at least 3 bowel movements everyday. I used certain ayurvedic medicines for better movements and they became better but later on they came back to the similar multiple movements pattern. I couldn’t eat what I wanted to or what would have been helpful to awakening because I was living with my family. They don’t eat very healthy. I can’t persuade them to change so I have to accept whatever I am given. A few days ago I felt enough is enough and I needed to chew my food and I started doing so. It increased the time I took to eat from 5-7 minutes to 17-20 minutes on an average. But it did make me feel great. Elimination of food became much easier. Now body feels less tense–all other factors being equal. It has been told that our body sends signals of saturation to brain only after a while thus if we eat fast we eat more. But since I used to eat only moderately it hasn’t made much difference in the amount of my diet intake. I now look at meals like ‘hard work’ rather than as ‘enjoyment.’ It will take some time to completely internalize this habit but I keep reminding myself whenever I feel forgetful. I am grateful to Logos for having made me aware of this important change. I feel it’s the smallest changes in our routines which make us feel better or worse without seeming that big. They create a great difference over the time.

I feel I should also talk about Sun-gazing a bit. It’s a great change in this year in my routine. It’s a substantial change because it has made my waking up early a must. I really enjoy the early morning routine. Initially it brought me out of my severe traumatic depression and now it’s doing wonders to my health and well-being. I feel it’s the simplest Yoga practice. It’s even simpler than listening to logos. Listening to natural sounds takes some conditioning and needs the environment. A time might come as you continue to practice when you need not even cover your ears and sound keeps coming all the times but before that you need to keep doing the practice. In case of Sun Yoga too you need environment because Sun must be visible from your location and weather should also allow it but other than this it’s a fairly easy practice to do–the easiest. I’ve been doing it for about 4 months now and my sleep quality has improved a great deal. I can feel the amount of nectar falling on tongue increases as I keep watching Sun. The amount of nectar always increases when you listen to logos for some time. Another important thing is loss of weight. The last year I used to walk 5-6 kilometres everyday and still it took me about 8-9 months to gain good shape which I again lost because of carelessness of those 4 months when I was undergoing many paranormal experiences. But this year within 4 months I’ve regained the shape and it’s almost effortlessly because I don’t walk everyday and don’t walk as much. The advantages of losing hunger and thirst altogether haven’t been seen yet and I don’t expect them because I am content with whatever I’ve received so far but they might happen if I continue to practice for many years. May be. I drink a lot of water compared to what most people drink. Since 2015 I’ve been drinking about 7-10 litres on an average. Earlier it was 15 litres but I found that kidneys had some problem because of my extended energy meditations in wrong postures. This used to increase heat in heart and head. Now that has been controlled. My body used to be hot compared to most people now it’s cold compared to most. My head also remains cold mostly. Earlier in 2015 I used to meditate 12 hours a day and sometimes energy was so much that my head literally used to burn because of it and nothing but putting my head under the cold tap water(in winters) used to make it relaxed. I was overdoing it in hope of early enlightenment but it doesn’t work that way. Enlightenment as a glimpse might come in the face of extraordinarily intense practices and you might gain certain paranormal experiences but only moderation can give lasting balance and peace. Now I am working towards that lasting balance and peace and avoid extreme measures which featured during most of my life. In my college days in 2005 I used to do 10000 repetitions of ‘forced exhalation.’ That practice did many swift changes to my body–my complexion noticeably became brighter and glowing and I gained better health but there were side-effects of those extremes. The fire element increased disproportionately in my constitution. 12 years later, I still practice ‘forced exhalation’ almost everyday but only 300 repetitions.

The last two days weather has been relatively cold after afternoon. It was difficult to sleep during most of this month because you keep sweating all night. May is the toughest test in this region of India. After having lived in Bangalore which has a very moderate weather it was very depressing and traumatic to live again in my hometown. 2013 May was too depressing and I ran away to Vrindavana in September as I gained some life force. 2014 May in Vrindavana wasn’t easier either because there they had electric supplies only 5 hours a day. 2015 May back in hometown was again a test. 2016 May was even tougher a test as I was living on upper story where more Sunlight reached and I also got Sunburn. 2017 battle is on and half of May has gone. Here I managed without a cooler just with a fan. In 2015 I had a cooler which causes much humidity. I have been taking 3-4 baths everyday in May all these years. Harsh weather gives severe depression as it triggers the ‘pain body.’ I realized that despite my prolonged meditations I had this depression because inactivity used to annul the effect of meditation, therefore I found out activities which didn’t create much Karma–like scribbling and watching videos. I used to be a scribbler since I read Win Wenger’s book in 2003 which advocated it as a potent practice for increasing one’s intelligence but after reaching a certain stage in meditative experiences I ended scribbling and only used journals(whenever I could afford to have them!) as records of certain experiences and routine meditation practices. I stopped being a free-scribbler like I once was. As I again started scribbling I realized it boosted my positive feelings because it was therapeutic. In fact most of my communicative healing in 2017 has happened via scribbling. There is no personal contact to heal via talking thus writing down my feelings gives a great medium to keep mind engaged. It avoids boredom. Boredom is a great accessory of depression. Depression is same existential nightmarish questions staring you in face again and again. Meditation kills those questions but acts as recharge vouchers because Karmic seeds keep sprouting into mighty trees.As you cut sum trees down more come to the surface therefore what worked before might not work now. Thus some type of engagement is needed and scribbling is one such engagement which works for me.

Even the sages in the natural state seemed active. I can’t tell how they felt because it will merely be a speculation. Most Indian sages used to read newspapers everyday though I have avoided mainstream media for more than a decade and half now. I feel part of the reason why our own experience in awakening frustrates us is because it betrays expectations foundations of which were led as you read some spiritual or self-help books. First hand experience of being near some spiritual gurus might have given you a better picture. If you read UG Krishnamurti he tells about Shivananda Saraswati’s shortcomings and some other critics tell about shortcomings of other gurus who are considered perfect by masses. I am not about scrutinizing personalities of sages but I want to point to the fact that most of the image of anger-free, violence-free, totally calm, consistent and flaw-less character images of gurus are embellished versions by devotees. The teachings don’t tell you about how sages lived. Anger of Jesus in synagogue doesn’t mean he can’t preach about ‘turning the other cheek.’ But it would help and save people a lot of trouble if they had true awareness of day-to-day lives of sages after which they modelled themselves. I was disillusioned step by step to discover personality flaws even in the most exalted of sages when I closely read their life accounts. Which is not something to tell about their enlightenment because they are not really personalities and yet you have only personality on which you work when you work on yourself thus modelling it after an ideal image of a sage makes you become deluded.

I raise a significant question about Turiya or transcendental state itself. How sages feel only sages know about. But most of the revered sages suffered bitterly. Jiddu Krishnamurti who is regarded as enlightened by all said something about not having gotten rid of suffering completely in his very last days–even when he made a declarative statement about rarity of his body vehicle which had the consciousness of a world teacher. Same Jiddu had given us a famous quote which I’ve used many times: “Some pain is inevitable but suffering is optional.” But no he suffered till his last day. He did say it about suffering as he was being given repeated morphine doses and it was not about pain. I refer you to read Mary Lutyens’ J. Krishnamurti –a life. Similarly Osho was so depressed that he threatened to commit suicide multiple times. Nisargadatta Maharaj a towering sage suffered bitterly when cancer overtook him. His commentary about it, in a book though brief tells about his suffering. He also wondered about Siddhas who took their bodies with them. Similarly Maharshi Ramana suffered from pain because of cancer in his last days though he said he felt the pain to be pain in dreams–pain nonetheless. Ramakrishna Paramhamsa also suffered from cancer. Kirpal Singh also died after suffering from cancer. Usually devotees tell that these masters had taken Karma of others on themselves otherwise they wouldn’t have suffered from cancer. I don’t agree. I feel if it were the cases it should have been true for all masters equally because they are all at the same height as far as consciousness is concerned but some of them die peacefully and others don’t. I feel those who suffered worked out final bits of their own Karma. But I keep an open mind about it. Thus I feel Turiya and other descriptions in texts are not really in alignment with what we observe in lives of sages but it might be due to my lack of understanding.

featured image courtesy: flickr

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