I went to a meditation training this weekend with an enlightened Tibetan Lama. We gathered early in a DuPont circle row home on Saturday morning--many practitioners, beautifully diverse. I had just spent a week holding a lot of space for some inspiring women during our amazing retreat to West Virginia and then for my family as we go through some medical issues. Spiritually I felt awesome, but physical I knew I was still depleted and I was looking forward to a nice peaceful dive into myself. Then I met these delicious wheat-germ balls.
Rather, I met a breakfast spread of all kinds of breads and cookies that were obviously made with love and concern for quality ingredients. I love this about spiritual potlucks. The problem was that I had already eaten a big breakfast at home of oatmeal and soaked flax and nice butter with a drizzle of maple syrup. This breakfast was meant to carry me to our lunch break at noon, as my breakfast usually does. One of my big health changes in these past nine months is that I avoid snacking. I've found that if I eat three solid meals, my body feels good and my brain feels clear.
In Ayurveda, we call this connection between digestion and mental prowess, Agni. It's said that one who worships Agni--mostly but not overloading it and giving it time to properly digest intake of food before re-upping--will enjoy perfect health. From my own practice of it, meal spacing is key to my feeling at home in my body and mind.
But I've also had a lot of practice at enjoying buffets and a strong mental story that I will not miss out on good food when it's offered, especially tasty wheat germ balls. Ignoring my first thought to avoid them, I grabbed a ball. Texture-wise it was soft with a nutty taste and a hint of salty caramel. I praised it aloud and then internally told myself I wouldn't eat another. Then I did. then I told myself I wouldn't eat anything else until lunch. Then I ate some trail mix.
I sat down to meditate and felt a burny kind of feeling coming from my chest. I've learned to understand this as a signal that my digestion is going off-kilter. It's especially strong when I eat a lot of sugar. Using my learned techniques, I breathed into it and felt compassion for myself. Then I made a plan to eat a light lunch. Right away, I felt better and sank into a deep silence where I was guided through different levels of internal light and felt the great spiritual power of the Lama.
Then we had a break and I ate another wheat germ ball and a chocolate chip cookie. After lunch--which again would be it--I ate another ball, more trail mix, and a slice of heavenly chocolate avocado mouse pie with a date almond crust (again, love you yoga chefs out there).
When I sat down again to meditate, my body really felt bad. I breathed into it but I couldn't find relief or compassion for myself. I felt lumpy and right away a story started to pound down on me. It told me I was out of control and this was the moment where I would gain back all the weight I've lost and along with it lose my mental clarity--all of the benefit of the good habits i had worked so hard to achieve. Again, we were being guided through the different levels of light and I could barely hear the words, because this voice in my head was so loud.