Eating and Food Issues - a Spiritual Odyssey by Dr. Roland Trujillo

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Eating Issues - A spiritual odyssey in search of health,wholeness, fulfillment and love

"This much I know," said Augustine, "I should take my food as my medicine."

 “I am a better person when I have less on my plate.”

    Elizabeth Gilbert,  Eat, Pray, Love

 This book was originally written a few years ago when I found out that a good friend was diagnosed with cancer. Since that time I have continued my spiritual journey and continue to ponder and make discoveries about our fallen human condition. What I write is the result of my own searching. I present it with gratitude, and I offer it in the hope that it will be of help to you. 

   I recently read a fact sheet from the American Obesity Association which revealed that one third of Americans are obese. Another fact sheet discussed the correlation between obesity and diabetes, kidney problems, and certain types of cancer.

  This morning I was paging through a popular magazine at the supermarket checkout counter, and I saw many pictures and several stories about well known Hollywood stars suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia, weight and dieting issues, compulsive eating, alcohol or substance abuse. 

 A person can have no weight issues, no substance issues, and eat the very best organic food available, and yet be perfectly miserable. That person will be surprised to discover the very subtle involvement of food and food substances in their unhappiness and lack of fulfillment. 

 Though we must eat to live, we must learn to eat so that our food does feed what is wrong with us. Because the effect is by its nature unconscious, it takes a good detective and a very aware observer to detect its subtle impact on our well being. 

For example, the perennial question "why do good people do bad things?" can be answered in part by the fact that people often do bad things when they are in a trance. People do wrong or foolish things when under the spell of emotions or the influence of drugs. But believe it or not, the mere act of eating has an effect on our consciousness. 

 Eating introduces a mild trance state. When we eat, we are suddenly less aware, less disciplined, and more suggestible. It is no coincidence that office affairs often begin with an invitation to a cup of coffee or a lunch. 

 People exert their will through food. It often begins at home—where when you accepted mother's food, you also accepted her will. Is it any wonder that we develop a love hate/relationship with food? Food represents comfort. Food fills the emptiness. But food also represents someone's will, and we end up struggling with food through transference, when what we are really struggling with is the spirit of the one who imposed her will on us. 

 A few years ago, Dr. Margo Maine coined the phrase "father hunger," and in her book Father Hunger: Fathers, Daughters, and Food, she discusses the importance of father in a child's life. 

  I have been saying the same thing for 25 years. Love is what we need to fill the emptiness. Father represents God in the eyes of the child, and when father is distant, it is to the child as if God is distant. It is resentment toward our failing father that separates us from our inner ground of good and leads to and sustains a host of emotional, eating and body image issues. 

 It is fortunate that resolution and recovery can take place despite an absent or distant father. Through understanding, we can learn to forgive our failing father and unloved mother, and through forgiveness find the love of the Father Spirit within. 

 We all like sheep have gone astray. We sense something missing in our lives. We sought the love of the world or the love of food, but when worldly love and food betray us, we are stuck with seeking more of the love that does not fulfill, like drinking sea water, or seeking stronger ways of numbing the pain and filling the emptiness.

 Nowhere does the mysterious effect of food become more evident than when we are faced with a serious health issue. We may suspect that somehow food was involved in its inception and development, and we also sense that something about food might be a key to recovery. 

Food is subtly involved in the tragedies of our lives. It also reinforces what we have become and prevents our finding our true self we might have been. Even the eating of cultural food somehow contributes to keeping us divided rather than experiencing unconditional love for and solidarity with our fellow humans from other traditions.

 Though a person does not have an obvious food issue, he or she is still under the spell of cultural food, as well as misdirections, and errors associated with a fallen culture and its food. We must understand food if we are to resolve our issues and find love for one another.  

 If food has played a role in our cultural divides, and in our emotional, spiritual and health issues, we may discover the resolution of our struggle with issues through understanding them in light of the food connection. Perhaps with understanding, our food might become our partner in recovery, and we might find the love we have been searching for all our lives. 

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