Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Diet or dogma?

Many people look to a change in diet or lifestyle as a means to achieve a better, healthier life. Yet some use their diet and lifestyle for unhealthy ends and use it to put down others just to feel better about themselves.

In this article I will explore this issue because I think it something that needs to be addressed. I think it is important because many are more interested in a label, in something to worship, in something to identify with, than they are in actually achieving health, or whatever their goals may be.

Worshiping the raft

In Buddhism the analogy of a raft is used referring to the fact that a raft is something you use to get across a river, and then once you are across the river, you discard the raft because it would be senseless to keep carrying it with you on the land.

So then the only purpose of the raft is to get you across the river, right?

We can see that it would then be silly of us to worship the raft itself and stay on it forever, rather than using it for its true purpose, which is to deliver us onto the other side of the river.

This is where many people get stuck. They forget that the whole point was to get across the river and instead spend their whole time on the raft, talking about how amazing it is, and then look down on those not on the raft.

This is the downfall of every organized religion, ideology, and philosophy. I think that all of these belief systems likely began with a purpose and usage in mind.

Yet somewhere along the way it was forgotten because too many of the people using it began to worship it instead of using it for its true purpose.

One should examine their actions and intentions in regards to their diet and/or lifestyle to determine whether or not they just sitting in the raft going no where or are actually making progress toward the other side.

Many people are at this point. They have reached the other side of the river, they have achieved the desired means, yet they are too afraid to get out of the raft. Instead they stay in the raft, they worship it, and very often they look down on everyone else who is not in that raft.

So it basically boils down to this. If you are on a diet or a lifestyle program you must determine whether you are doing it for health or just so you can call yourself a vegan, vegetarian, or raw foodist.

Are you coming from a place of strength and confidence, or are you simply looking for a label to give yourself? Are you looking for something to fill your identify with? Are you simply looking for a place to belong?

I would say that many people fall into one of the categories that I just listed.

I should say that I am not condemning or putting down anyone for any reason by what I have just said. Rather, I simply want people to be aware of their true intentions and motivations.

I think that all of them are okay and acceptable. You are free to do whatever you choose and I am not going to tell you any different. However, I think that everyone should be aware of his or her own motivations.

Doing so makes one more conscious and gives one a greater sense of personal freedom and empowerment. It is my belief that the first step towards empowerment is awareness.

I would like to talk a little bit about the idea of health and, more specifically, how some use their diet or lifestyle as a way to give them a sense of superiority.

I want to bring this up because I believe this is a very unhealthy behavior and for people who are supposedly interested in health, it seems only logical that this issue should be addressed.

The point I want to make here is that you can eat the healthiest foods and you can have the healthiest lifestyle, but if you are behaving in a way that is judgmental, dogmatic, elitist, condescending, preachy, or think you have to convert the world to your point of view, then you are still MASSIVELY UNHEALTHY.

I say this because there are many other levels to health than just the physical. Mental, emotional, spiritual, and interpersonal are other examples. Many people think, however, that since they are a vegetarian or a raw foodist that they are automatically the healthiest person ever.

I should say again that if you are a raw foodist and at the same time judgmental and elitist, then you are obviously still not very healthy.

If you are using your diet or lifestyle to put you above other people so that you can feel bigger, then you are again, most certainly, not healthy.

Again I want to point out that I am not saying this to put anyone down. I am simply bringing this up because it is an important issue that should be addressed.

Another point that I want to make is that diet and lifestyle are not the end, be all. They are not the golden calf that many make them out to be. No ONE single thing is.

Many people make this mistake and think that because they grow and expand in one area of their life that it is all that they need to do.

Very often, they think that their work is done and that the only thing left to do is to go around preaching and trying to convert everyone to their point of view.

Well, I can tell you that this is a very dangerous and imbalanced point of view to have. I can tell you that this is a life script that is destined for failure, stress, strife, and struggle. This is a set of game rules in which no one wins and everyone loses.

In conclusion

In closing, my advice is to really think about some of the questions which I have raised in this article.

I am saying look in the mirror at your own self to figure these things out.

Also one thing we all could do is to simply LIGHTEN UP.

Does it really matter so much what someone is or isn’t?

Do these labels really matter that much? Do we really need to pigeonhole everyone we meet into a little symbolic box so that we can feel more secure?

Because in the end what matters more, a diet and lifestyle or actually being a kind, generous, happy, and positive person?

Which do you prefer and why?

In later articles I will highlight my own diet and lifestyle choices and also delve into my motivations.

I think this will be an important tangent to this article because I think it will show that one can eat and live a certain way, with out being so caught up in it that it becomes all consuming.

I will show that you can live a certain way, which may be potentially very beneficial, with out insisting that everyone else does the same.

1 comment:

Harmonious Living said...

Brilliant sharing, thanks.