How many times have you heard the old cliché “Man does not live by food alone”? As humans, we have a myriad of requirements in order to sustain a life of quality and growth. There are many parts of us that must be fed, the most important being our spirit. As this is often intangible and nebulous to most us, this is the element in our lives that often gets shunted to a low priority. Our spirit is what drives us forward and we are all immortal infinite beings, but we function here on the earthly plane and so we tend to put our physical requirements first before examining what it is that we really need on a spiritual level.
What we need is spiritual food, we need time, love and nurturing. We require attention and it is our primary mission in life to give that to both ourselves and others. This may be through rearing children, furthering human knowledge, contributing to our community or communicating with others and generally providing support. It is vitally important to feed ourselves as we will not be able to feed others successfully unless our own vital needs are taken care of. Some of us might say “oh, I don’t have the time” or “I have all these other things I have to do” or “the children need me” and that is precisely why we must feed ourselves first to ensure that we have the endurance to last in the long term. We can look at the bigger, long term picture rather than just the current situation.
Spiritual food is whatever feeds us spiritually. It is whatever assists our spiritual growth and expansion. It is whatever nurtures and encourages us to be better people.
Let’s ask ourselves, “What feeds me spiritually” and “What am I really hungry for” and it’s probably not physical food. It seems more and more now that we live in a time of spiritual hunger that is reflected back to us by the physical hunger of others and the malnutrition that we see in this country and others due to poor diets. People everywhere are searching for something they sometimes perceive as physical hunger, but it is more likely to be spiritual sustenance they require rather than food. Most of us have eaten fast food at some time and occasional use is not a problem. It is when unhealthy foods become a regular part of our diet that we are then going down the track to ill health and spiritual hunger. We all have questions about life and death and our purpose on this planet and covering these questions up with food or other external factors doesn’t give us the answers that we seek.
Unfortunately, people look for answers to their problems in a place outside themselves. In an attempt to find answers to our spiritual problems we go to external sources such as work, sport, relationships, food and sex, to find solace. As humans we can misuse anything to cover up our pain. Although, these things can of course be used judiciously to encourage our spiritual growth, eating ‘light’ foods such as a higher proportion of fruit and vegetables, less meat, wholesome meals cooked with love (instead of the begrudging mindset of ‘having to cook this meal’). We can use exercise appropriately to ‘bring up’ blocks in our bodies, we may have sex as a sacred ritual, we can go to nature and breathe in life from the forest, or allow the ocean to soothe our souls as we walk along the beach. There are many ways of feeding ourselves spiritually. Some people may go to organised religions to be fed by the church community and the eucharist, others may need to turn away from religions if they can’t find the spiritual food they require.
It’s how we use these external things that counts. We can use many things to feed us spiritually – a past time, hobby, work, nature, a relationship with the earth, people or animals, music, art, literature, good wholesome food, clean air, families, meditation, good sleep, anything that helps us grow and expands our consciousness. Our intent and proper use rather than inappropriate use is what counts towards us growing spiritually.
I hope this article gives you some food for thought on finding ways to salve your spiritual hunger. While writing it, I know it has provided me with impetus to get out and find some time just to be with myself and feed my inner life. Let’s connect with our inner selves daily and regard this connection as the sacred conduit to the divine that it truly is.