Food: for the body or the soul?

Essays > Health

A look at the vital connection between eating and meditation.

The story of the Roman Emperor who loved to eat non-stop needs to be recalled when we think about food. This emperor was so fond of eating all the delicious dishes prepared in his kitchen that when his stomach could no longer contain what he was eating, he just tickled his throat with a feather and vomited it all out only to start eating again!

A German proverb gives us the right advice: Stop eating when the food tastes the best. Instead of going on gorging on more food because it is so tasty, stop when it tastes the best and preserve that taste. Now you won’t be bloated, and the food will digest easily without discomfort.

These days, food is a major concern of everyday life. Vegetarian foods, fruitarian foods, unprocessed foods, organic foods, sugar-free foods, gluten-free foods, low-calorie foods, vitamin-rich foods, protein-rich foods, Superfoods (from South America, Tibet and the Far East)… the list goes on and on for different types of foods in daily conversation. All these foods are linked to dieting for the right weight in relation to height and for looking healthy, glowing and smart.


Dieting is a major industry today. People starve to “eat right, so that their pants are not tight!” So many diet systems are popular and practiced. People lose weight for big compliments on how good they look – only to put on double the weight again! Or, reduce their immunity and fall ill.

Despite all fasting and starving in the name of dieting, the people who reduce weight do not look young nor have a glow on their faces. Why? Because the spiritual dimension of eating food is nowhere in their lives. Because we are not natural.

This is where Osho comes in. He cautions, the body never goes to extremes, the mind goes to extremes. This is why no animal goes to extremes, otherwise what would be the condition of animals! There is no one giving them guidance. Have you ever seen an animal eating too much? Go to the jungle and look carefully, do you see any animal that you can say has overeaten? Do you see any animal that is fasting?

He adds, “Food cannot make you spiritual, but if you are spiritual your food habits will change.” Once you start meditating regularly, you only eat what your body needs and no more. Most importantly, you eat in awareness about what you are eating and how you are eating. You select the right food that you need at the right time and enjoy it. Then you eat it slowly, relishing its taste and chewing it for over 30 times to digest it. And you eat when you need the food for energy.

Automatically, you lose or gain weight to come to the correct balance. With this awareness from meditation, your body becomes healthy and you have a glow on your face. This has been observed about people who have stayed with Osho and/or meditated for many, many years as they become very careful in what they eat, when they eat and how they eat. Do they live to eat or eat to live? Neither. They meditate with food.

Kul BhushanKul Bhushan is a regular contributor
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