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Immerse Week 43 – The Sacred Food

Each day feed your body, mind, and soul.

Dear friend,

Modern aircraft seating comes in multiple varieties. Some of the variations in seating include different types of phone slots, USB and AC ports, tablet ledges, back pitches, winged headrests, fold-down tables, leg and arm rests, recliners, fully flat beds, all the way to large private rooms and seat-bed suites. On an international flight, as I sat with stiff, cramping legs on a middle seat in economy class, I wondered about the comforts of the world business class. I surmised that once I got that upgrade, after a few flights, I would start wondering about a chartered flight. Next I might desire a Learjet, or even a fleet of them. Soon thereafter, I might want to own an island. Then I might worry about how to sustain this lifestyle, concerned that a competitor’s product might decrease my company’s revenue stream, potentially decreasing the stock price and thus the value of my options, which I would have used as collateral to fund my extravaganza.

This treadmill occurs because I have forgotten who I am and what I am really hungry for. As I look deeply, I realize I don’t have one hunger; I have five of them—namely food-hunger, ego-hunger, emotional-hunger, creativity-hunger, and meaning-hunger.

The material food satisfies my food-hunger with nutrition. Nutrition, however, isn’t just calories and taste. The fragrance, the color, the sound, the touch, and the love that has been poured into the food, all add to its nutrition. The more I make eating a multisensory experience, the greater contentment I find in it and the lesser my need to gorge on extra calories.

Ego-hunger spurs me to chase material wealth and fame. It tickles me to acquire things. The things please because of their innate value, and even more so, because of their novelty. We are designed to seek new and fresh objects and experiences. If the things themselves had phenomenal value, we would never get tired of them. But we do. Hence, the things aren’t the real thing. They are a side helping. The main course is what feeds the higher three hungers.

Emotional-hunger seeks love, expressed as kindness, appreciation, acceptance, connection, caring, attention, trust, respect, intimacy, and more. We have at least four different compartments of emotional-hunger—with partners, close loved ones, professional connections, and friends and others. Rejection in any of these relationships can be hurtful, with love flowing from one aspect often not enough to compensate for a hole elsewhere. Fulfilled emotional-hunger helps society, because an emotionally content person feels worthy and secure, has a healthy sense of self, and helps others feel emotionally fulfilled.

Not uncommonly I hear from people, “Everything is good in my life. My spouse loves me; I don’t have any major health issues. I feel financially secure. But I’m not happy. Something is missing from life.” That something is creativity. Zoo animals, if they aren’t challenged with new toys and fun activities, get bored and die sooner. Our mind also likes challenges that stretch our imagination and focus. Absent such challenges, we become dull because of unfulfilled creativity-hunger.

With the above four hungers fulfilled, you might think that life would become hunky-dory. If that were the case, the rich and famous people who do interesting things would never feel miserable to the point of contemplating suicide or actually taking their lives. What they are missing is a deeper meaning. We are a meaning-seeking species. We crave to serve a meaning larger than ourselves. Deprived of such meaning, either because the meaning doesn’t exist or we can’t find it, we get melancholic. People find deeper meaning through serving fellow beings in a selfless manner (through work or otherwise), holding to faith, deepening understanding of the world, or following other means. A fulfilled meaning-hunger completes one’s life.

In general, the more you feed your advanced hungers—those of love, creativity, and meaning—the less you need to satisfy the ego-hunger. Given the nature of my mind, I know I will always be hungry. Whenever I can, I should quench my creativity-hunger, which serves a higher meaning. I hope that’ll provide me relative freedom from needing to overdose on food or ego. It will also help me see the love already flowing toward me. I wish the same for you.

May you feed your true hunger each day—the hunger of love, creativity, and meaning—to serve a purpose larger than yourself.

Take care.

@AmitSoodMD (on Twitter

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