2. The Psychology Of Making A Lifestyle Change
2.1 The Psychology of Being
2.1.1 Nutrition and Mental Health
Usually when we think of the word psychology, a vision appears of couches and a "specialist" who collects impressive fees for talking to you about your life. Somehow the Indians in Mexico and fishermen in small Greek seaside villages, all struggling as we do to survive day by day, manage to get by in life without these "counsellors." In our rush to discover the space age, once again we have overlooked the wisdom of simplicity. Intuition and common sense help us to better understand the realms of our minds, just as they tell us how to care for our bodies. It is this common sense that tells us not to entrust our minds to a "professional" who includes all manner of drugs (from mood elevators to tranquilizers—all with their negative side effects—to shock treatment) in his treatment of patients. This "expert" seldom considers the obvious link between nutrition and mental health, and will look instead for more esoteric causes for a person's mental state, all appropriately labelled and tagged with intellectual-sounding psychological terms to create an aura of mystique, terms such as parental upbringing, peer pressure and so on, all of which have their place, but none of which is so basic and all-encompassing as the person's everyday diet and regime.
Often the same people who run to doctors to ask them what is happening with their own bodies are the same types who run to an "analyst" to ask what is happening in their minds. These people apparently don't place much trust in their own faculties. We have seen time and time again in our studies of Natural Hygiene that our bodies have incredible self-healing powers, given the proper conditions for healing to take place. It is the same with the mind. People learn to work out their lives by solving each problem as it arises, so "people on the street" surely know as much about real life as the psychiatrist/psychologist with his framed university degrees. If not more. If ever we feel confused, we'll do better to look inward and find out why, and see what we can do to change. In some cases talking it out is the best form of help around—we can talk to friends or counsellors who don't prescribe drugs.
2.1.2 We Are What We Eat, Digest, Assimilate; and Think
Let's leave the psychology books on the, shelf for the moment and get straight to the point: we are what we digest and assimilate of what we eat, and we are what we think (our thoughts determine our actions and our lives) and these processes are totally interlinked. Health is threefold: physical, mental and of the spirit.
In the words of the poet/philosopher Kahlil Gibran:
"And tell me, people of Orphalese, what have you in these houses? And what is it you guard with fastened doors?
2.2 Collective Consciousness—The Universal Mind
Since infancy most people in this society have been more or less preoccupied with themselves. Now that they have discovered that they should "know themselves," they are more determined than ever to understand their minds. Where do all their thoughts come from? Sometimes they are self-originated, and others just seem to pop in from "nowhere in particular." There is also a universal mind, a collective consciousness, of which we are all a part. In an era where people are becoming increasingly self-aware, they realize that they do not exist completely separate from other human beings—we are all interdependent and part of a huge "aquarium" or microcosm in the sky: our planet earth. What we do and even what we think will leave its imprint someplace. Even if we feel "lonely" at times, we are never really alone.
Like children, we adults often continue to associate eating with gratification/satisfaction (Lesson 16). If ever there's a twinge of anxiety, whether it stems from this loneliness or general boredom, we tend to think of eating to bring us some form of "relief." If only we could fill the vague, cloudy, empty areas in our existence with something. Our goal is to find out just what to do with this energy. We create our reality, but just as we'd prefer to blame some mysterious "germs" for illness, rather than see that our lifestyle produces our state of health, we'd rather believe that "things just happen to us at random," with no control from within. That way we are relieved of any responsibility. Nothing could be further from the actuality.
Our normal, physiological functions take place on the subconscious level, without the conscious attention of the mind. We may or may not be aware of these processes, depending upon our sensitivity. Our conscious thoughts are woven with our subconscious mind in a blend that determines our existence. One may wonder at science fiction that likens our minds to computers—indeed, some do resemble busy information gathering and storage centers that work day and night. Perhaps some minds still resemble rivers, wherein the person can become fluid, relax, and "go with the flow," yet our compulsion for labels and categories in this day and age seems to grow. People want labels for disease, labels for their thoughts—they are constantly searching for data. When will they see that life is more than the bits and pieces? It is the whole. Every time people seek to define something, the something will change, as does every other thing on the planet, from instant to instant. Yet we insist on definitions, facts, labels and data, and on externalizing what happens to us as being caused by coincidences or outside influences beyond our control. We're caught by the whirlwind propaganda of our times: be somebody. How can we be somebody and at the same time not take ourselves too seriously? I guess we have to see that we must drink the water, but our lips don't have to touch the cup!
Life enjoys setting us up for learning these lessons. The more we learn, the sooner we'll be surprised at how few things are just happening to us at random.
Sometimes we'll find that the harder we work at something, the more progress we make in realizing our goal. At other times, mysteriously, it seems to be just the opposite. Sometimes the harder we want something and more attached we are to our particular desire, the less we succeed, and the farther we are from our goal. How can this be? This is especially hard for a work- and goal-oriented society like ours to grasp. At times the conscious mind can interfere with the natural flow of events. When we stay only in the conscious mind and chatter on busily to ourselves, we may be missing intuitive subconscious messages trying to get through, just as it is difficult to listen and speak at the same time.
Let's look at an example. I once noticed that I often found something I had lost just at the point where I was about to give up looking, i.e., my conscious mind would detach itself from the search for a moment, maybe even just due to a momentary distraction. Somehow at the precise moment the conscious mind ceased to work, the subconscious mind would take over and I'd have an intuition to look under a particular book or in a drawer, and lo and behold, there was the missing object. It took me awhile to realize what principles were at work here: the conscious mind can "block" the subconscious.
Some people are almost completely unaware of their subconscious minds, just as some people are unaware of their body's innate capacity for self-healing and repair. They define the whole of their existence in terms of their conscious thoughts. This is very limiting, like trying to define the ocean in terms of the contents of a few of its drops of water.
Just as we can't watch two channels on TV at once, most of us can't tune in to both our conscious and subconscious minds at the same time. It can be done, just as one can juggle and watch a distant object instead of the balls, but it takes some effort at first. Usually we spend most, if not all, of our waking time in our conscious minds, entertaining ourselves with various fantasies, plans and ideas, or tormenting ourselves with worries and what-if's, depending upon our moods. Often we don't slip into our subconscious minds until we are asleep.
Just where is this subconscious mind? Well, most of us can think of instances where we've been aware of two types of knowing—we may know something because we were told, or we read it in a book or saw it with our own eyes. Or we may say that we know something "by intuition." There is a fine line dividing these two types of knowledge, but most of us have had experiences of this "sixth sense." As evolution of human beings goes forward, more and more people are discovering heightened sensitivity. Many people consider it an upsurge of "spirituality"—not necessarily in the religious sense (though when some people are awakened they choose to define it as such). No matter what the name, it is clear that peoples' minds are expanding at an increasing rate to include more and more dimensions. The universal mind also expands and increases with every moment. There are thousands of books and words to fill our minds; we try to sort out the truth. Many things in the universe remain unexplained. We often hear of "paranormal" events or the ability to receive information from the universal mind. If we are tempted to be skeptical, we should wonder if people a thousand years ago would have laughed at someone who spoke of vehicles that could fly in the air. Before the invention of the microscope, no one would have imagined that there were thousands of tiny living creatures moving around in a piece of fingernail scrapings, but there are. People are notorious for believing "only what they can see," but obviously a lot exists whether they see it or not. The mind has more potential than we can, at this point in our evolution, know.
Some people receive messages or information from the universal mind when they are dreaming. I myself have dreamed dozens of times of people (some who'd been gone for months), and then seen them that day, enough times to finally realize that I was somehow knowing in my dream and subconscious mind that I would see them—I had no conscious clue that they'd be coming. Many people have these types of dreams. Some see a person in a dream and later find out they died; some have seen houses on fire or other events that later came to pass, or were happening at the time of, or before, the dream. The only explanation for such occurrences is that there is information accessible to people who can "tap into it," by whatever means may best suit their consciousness, whether in a waking or a sleeping state. (For some people, whose minds are always busily centered in the conscious when awake, the sleeping state is the time in which they can best "submerge" into their subconscious minds, with no interference from the conscious stream of thoughts usually present.) Dreams also seem to be a type of "re-sorting" of information and events of the day, or the past, and some seem to reflect (or "work out") our fears or anxieties, so we can't just classify all dreams into one category. There are different stages of consciousness even in sleep, because there are varying depths of sleep; so not all dreams are the "precognitive" type mentioned. After awhile you'll be able to differentiate between your different types of dreams and whether they have any further significance for you. We shouldn't become unnecessarily preoccupied with our "average" dreams, any more than we would with any other part of our past. But we should learn to recognize any signals or any other information given to us if we feel intuitively that they are being given to us for a reason.
When thinking about knowledge, consider this. If you were to look at the ocean from a boat, you'd see the surface waves, but how would you ever imagine all the millions of fish under the water, and the ocean floor teeming with life, if you'd never been down there or known anyone who had? How would you then describe the sea, in terms of what you could see"! Your description would be a part of the truth, not the whole.
So, when talking about the subconscious mind, let's imagine a crystal clear pool of water, so clear that you can see the bottom of the pool and even the reflection of yourself and the sky behind you. When the pond is still, you are seeing both sides, the inside and the outside, above and below the surface, into both dimensions. When you stop thinking and mind goes quiet, it becomes clear like the crystal pool, and you perceive more than one dimension, the subconscious as well. But if you drop a stone into the pond, the surface is broken and both images, above and below are distorted. Your thoughts are like the stones.
When the mind is clear and quiet, we may call this a state of meditation. The inner voice can be heard; this is somewhat different from the voice of regular conscious thought, but you can distinguish between the two if you are sensitive enough. Knowledge thus comes from the inside as well as the outside, from a place we cannot see or measure, and yet we know it is there. Inner space is, after all, as infinitely deep as outer space!
We must not forget to look inward in this busy outward world. There is much knowledge to be found there, and we must learn how to "let go" in order to open the channels in the mind. Constant thinking blocks intuition and saps our energy—the mind needs rest just as the body needs rest.
As we go toward a lighter diet of fresh, raw fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, we will notice changes in our thoughts. We may find ourselves going through mental purgation as well as physical cleansing. Soon the mind will settle and become calm with the new healthy lifestyle, but whenever you feel an abundance of scattered thoughts, just let them go on by, don't repress them. Just as people suppress their cleansing symptoms with drugs and interfere with the body's natural healing process, so too do they sometimes hold in their real feelings. The result is a parallel to what happens when toxins are held in the body, only this time, wrong thoughts, attitudes, prejudices, etc., are the toxins: mental toxins.
2.3 Emotions—Releasing Mental and Emotional Toxins
Ever wonder why some people hold in their emotions? Some men are determined not to cry, for example. Women have traditionally been given more freedom in this area, fortunately for them. Children cry easily until they get the "message" to "grow up." Stop and ask yourself why we even have tears, tear ducts and emotions, if not for a reason? Some people plaster their pores shut with, underarm deodorants to "stop the wetness," somehow riot ' bothering to realize that the body's natural eliminative sweat glands are there for a reason in the first place, to refrigerate the area and get toxins out. Who, in the name of wetness or dryness, wants to keep these toxins in their body? Who wants to keep others in their minds?
Those who have reached and kept to a 100% raw food diet say that they have gained health, peace of mind and serenity of soul that are literally indescribable. Our purpose in life is spiritual unfoldment (again, we use the term spiritual in speaking of the spirit, not in the purely "religious" sense). The body is a tool you use to work with, to carry you towards your goals in life. The better nourished the body is, the more clear the mind is, and the more beautiful the character becomes. The purer the body is, the more expansion of consciousness will take place. A live food diet of our biologically-correct foods will bring spiritual awareness and heightened powers of intellect and sensitivity.
Home > Lesson 90 - Psychology And Practical Aspects Involved In Making A Change In Lifestyle
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