Is there such a thing as a balanced meal if it’s disconnected from the land? Can we take what we think works well from other cultures in other places and gorge on that for the same health benefits? What if we adopted not just one food from their diet but the entire diet? Is that healthy where you live right now, or should you ask the land and listen for an answer through intuition? What if you live in a big city where you can’t grow anything, hunt, or fish? Lot’s of questions; a couple of answers.
First, what is intuition? Is it not the call and response of direct relationship? That is, an answer or direction understood completely without the interval of reasoning? In a culture divorced from nature, separated from direct relationship, such as ours, it is easy to confuse the tug of our inner want from intuition. This, because the thoughts that we repress often surface as feelings and compulsions. So, we have to be extra vigilant when deciphering intuition from our own desires. Both promote a similar sense of needing to spring into action. How can you tell the difference?
If you ask the land how and what to eat with honesty, with that openness to learn something completely new, that’s all it takes. Completely new, meaning that you haven’t a thought about it because you don’t know anything. No opinion. No knowledge. You’re simply open for anything and eager to learn the correct way. You’re not bouncing what you learn off of knowledge you’ve accumulated about healthy dieting and so forth—you’re simply asking because you actually do not know. When you don’t know and don’t suspect you know, that’s the only way an unadulterated answer can spring forth. Sometimes it will spring forth without you ever asking and then it’s up to you to follow it—up to you not to get in the way. This is true even if you live in a city where you’re unable to grow your own food or eat local. In this case, ask the land and also ask the body, which you are still perceiving as different from you.
I’ve talked about how I became a vegetarian those many years ago: I got up early enough to make it to McDonald’s before they switched out the breakfast menu for lunch, so I could stuff my face with the ever-addictive McGriddle breakfast sandwich. But my feet? My feet had other ideas. They wanted me to keep walking down the street to the healthy supermarket, Trader Joe’s. I had no clue why, but I let it happen to see where this was going. It, I mean I, went to the fresh veggies and soy-based fake meats.
‘Why am I doing this?’ I asked myself, as I loaded my cart with veggies and veggie products, for the first time ever. I never received a literal answer. The answer was, I’m now a vegetarian.
This was in Forest Hills, Queens, New York. I hadn’t thought to also ask the land what an appropriate diet from the land consisted of, but then it’s such a bastardized place at this point in history, who knows if an answer not consisting of store-bought food would have made sense? In this case, I simply did not get in the way of the body, which clearly needed a dietary change. Of course, at this stage in my life, I had had the various “awakenings” and the “I AM” experience, so my sense of me-and-body was quite different than before all of that. I knew (and know) me as a projection of the body, and so I wasn’t intuiting anything from an outside agency. The direction was clear. It was coming from the totality of me, if that makes sense. From necessity, not thought. Not a decision. The only decision I could make would have been against my best interest. That’s choiceless awareness—when there is no choice except to consciously strain against or refuse to act from the intelligence of the whole, the healthy, the best. Indeed, that whole, healthy, best is you, so why would you ever struggle or refuse?
Now I live in Hawaii. Still a vegetarian. Eating local. Starting to grow food. But I’m not eating balanced meals by the Western standard, or even Hawaiian. I’m listening. A few years ago I heard the intuitive call to stop eating fish, so I stopped. It’s really not difficult because the want for the tastes of meat and fish, though I remember them fondly, has dissolved. My appetite changed the instant I embraced the choiceless choice. There was no hedging and no longing because the action was total and clear, not a struggle against what I really wanted or a compromise crafted by thought.
If there is another big dietary change or two or three coming, I will hear it, because listening never stops. It’s not something one turns off for convenience or any other reason. Listening is everything. It’s everything. Listening contains the answers, which are actions. These actions are the complete cessation of the partial, the incomplete, and the wrong habits we consider the norm.
And if you listen closely, you will find that no one—not even your own body—no one is instructing you to eat McGriddle.