In a world where much importance is given to materialism and form, it’s not strange that even the “spiritual” paths have acquired this view. An example of this can be noticed when speaking about nutrition. What should we eat in order to be more “spiritual”? Have we to become vegans in order to not harm the animals who are living beings (forgetting that even plants are alive, able to express emotion, including fear, and feel pain)? Have we to follow a sober diet in order to balance the yin and the yang within us?
More or less, these are the themes faced when speaking about nutrition: it remains in the field of the material (food and water) or, at best, it is expanded to the field of subtle energy (Ki, Chi, Prana, Orgone, etc..). In any case, energy is also given some “visual” qualities: color, frequency, etc…
It’s stated that only 2% of what composes us is material (physical); the remaining 98% is not. So, remaining in the field of the 2% is a bit limiting.
Beware: this writer does not state that the food which enters through our mouth is not important. But, is that our only nourishment? No, it is not.
What is the “right nourishment”? Is there a nourishment for the “Soul” (whatever this term could mean for us)?
It’s not always a topic easily understood: air, impressions and sensations are also a nourishment, but more subtle and refined, which nourishes the mind and emotional field.
Usually, food is intended in physical terms (as said above, food and water) and it is. It’s a food intended to nourish the body. But this is not the only quality of food we acquire: indeed, there is a food for mind and, of course, emotions.
Seen that this topic could really become a never-ending treatise, we’ll remain in the field of a specific “food”, probably the most important for our well-being: impressions.
We could begin with a simple statement: mind is a photosensitive plate: what impresses it, transforms it.
From this point of view, we could classify the mind nourishment in two main categories: “inner” and “outer”.
The “outer” nourishment are the impressions which come from the external world through our senses. The “inner” nourishment is composed of memory and imaginative processes which use the data acquired through the “outer” nourishment.
We could use the above statement to make an example: if the photosensitive plate (the plate used in the old box cameras) is not exposed to any source of light, it will remain clear and clean. If a source of light touches the plate, something will remain impressed on it.
Pondering about this statement, we could perhaps understand a bit better, why practices such as Meditation without any external support (no visualization, no sounds, no focusing on external objects, etc…) are useful for realizing our “intimate nature” – our Being. Indeed, the process of identification of the mind with the seen or mental images is fascinating: it never stops. Whatever our mind comes into contact with, remains impressed on it.
Observing such processes of acquiring sensory impressions, impressions from our memory or imagination could help us to understand how to better manage, for our benefit, such processes, without having to retire to a cave or a monastery to escape “life temptations”.
It’s an obvious thing that spending some moments in Nature, on the beach or a mountain, generates a condition of harmony; indeed, nature is harmony and beauty. An opposite situation is the effect generated by the outer chaos we could find in a city or the inner chaos produced from associative, mechanical, incoherent and unconscious thoughts. Obviously, this chaos generates disharmony.
The intelligent and impatient readers will ask, “So, what’s the solution?”
“Have we to escape the chaotic cities and move to a rural area?”
It’s not necessary or, at least imperative, to escape anywhere in order to access a condition of harmony.
Harmony can be found everywhere, even where one would not expect: what is needed is a little bit of skill of observation and an open mind.
So, how do we acquire “good” impressions?
We’ll make a simple, but fundamental example: everything which surrounds us has a form and, differently from what we would commonly consider, there does not exist a natural form. Everything that exists, including buildings and other constructions built by the hands of men, are repetitions of forms that can be found in nature. Finding something “unnatural” in form, is an interpretation. Ponder about that.
Even if you live in a metropolis, try to observe forms, objects and people which could express harmony. This doesn’t mean that you have to avoid all which doesn’t express these qualities. Indeed, often, even the concept of what is harmonious is subjected to our interpretations. Often, i have fun in observing the difference between what I consider harmonious and what not, noticing the effects of these interpretations on my emotions and mind.
On one hand, I observe a noisy crowd of people in a square, and the difference between the characters that compose it. On the other hand, I observe the beauty of the square, of the regular form of the buildings, the touch of my feet with “Mother Earth” (the ground)….
I try to nourish myself with beauty and harmony. Maybe you’ll consider that there are not many things in this world which could express beauty and harmony, and this writer can’t blame you. But, there are still things that are harmonious, that express beauty, worthwhile to be enjoyed.
This is what we should also focus on.