Here let us talk about the reality of creation.
We all know that bodies need healthy food, good fuel to keep them healthy and keep them operating efficiently. We learn about healthy food in school. Furthermore, a healthy body also needs discipline of diet. Some degree of self control is needed in order to maintain good eating habits. This is the reality of our created body.
Just like our bodies, our spirit also has a reality. Our mind also needs to be fed. Our thought is the fuel. When we feed our thoughts to it, it keeps the mind active. Our thoughts can be delusional or mindful. When we are fed with delusions, these delusions are digested through imagination, thinking, understanding and memory processes. And, what is discharged (action) or absorbed (memory) is also delusion. When we are fed with mindfulness, our mind will absorb and digest these thoughts into mindful and righteous acts.
When we eat inappropriately it will result in sickness and discomfort as a warning. If we really care about how our body performs, we are willing to adjust the way we eat and have a little bit of discipline in our diet. To be able to help our body back to health, we put effort into adjusting our diet. This process can take time and require perseverance and involves changes in attitude and habit. When we get irritated or show bad behavior, it is like a sign of sickness in our mind. Just like we recover our body, to recover our mind we have to change the way we feed our mind. And we also need discipline as well. The discipline here is from the commandments which are found in every religion. The right way to feed our mind is to give it mindfulness instead of delusion, give God’s words as fuel instead of earthly ideas. We all know that to get back our health it takes time to let the body renew its cells. How long it takes may depend on the degree of discipline we have. To recover our mind it takes time and effort too. It take time to learn be mindful and develop new habits for our spirit. How long it takes also depends on how well we follow the commandments as our spiritual teaching. This is also a change of life attitude and habits. To live in this spiritual attitude and habit is called living the “inner life” or “spiritual life”.
We learn about health care from school or different places. We may all know how to deal with it when the we see physical signs of ill health. This knowledge we gain is through the study and experience of others. Similarly, we need to learn the knowledge of how to care for our mind. Unfortunately, this is not taught much in the school system. Even religious teaching is often confused by what has been emphasized without a link to the reality of creation. In order to gain the knowledge of how to keep our mind healthy, we need to learn about what food is suitable for our mind and what is harmful. Then we need to learn to be “aware” of what food we are feeding our mind. We must learn to excercise discipline about what thoughts we feed ourselves just as we have discipline about what we eat. Gradually, we can cultivate new eating habits for our mind.
We learn about how to care for our body from other people and from personal experience. We gain experience from what we are exposed to and learn to deal with situations. The same is the true of healthy mind care. Each Holy book tells us stories and parables and provide commandments and guidance which tell us all kinds of ways to identify spiritual problems and let us know how to deal with or avoid them. It tells us what kind of mindset we have (the food we feed to our mind) which can grow or harm our spirit. It is an indirect way, or sometimes a direct way, to tell us what kinds of food is good for our mind or distorts our mind. Those stories are used to strengthen our spiritual health knowledge, so we can know how to keep our mind and spirit healthy. When people give us harmful food we all know to reject it. When others provide us junk food, whether we accept it or not depends on our discipline and will. Spiritual food can be dealt with in a similar way. For example, when others impose on us could generate hurtful feelings. If our minds let go of the hurtful feeling like we reject the harmful food, then our mind will be protected. If we react to the hurtful feeling it is like we swallow the harmful food to our mind. Or even worse, when we think it over and over again it will be like we keep feeding the harmful food to our mind. This is why it is so important to learn to drop unhealthy emotions.
Our environment is full of temptations. They are like junk food for our mind everywhere. If we don’t follow the religious teachings and commandments, it will be like having no discipline to resist junk food, or even poison. It also means no protection for our mind’s health. We should also be careful about projecting unhealthy emotions to others, because it may feed others minds in an unhealthy way. In this phenomenal world everything is interdependent. Each of us plays roles of supplying others with words, emotions, material things and actions, and also being supplied by others. There is no exception to the process of continually receiving and giving feelings as mental (spiritual) food for others. “How we want be treated is how we should treat others.” “What mental food we want to be fed that is what we should feed others.”
Therefore, the core of religious teaching is understanding the realities of how we were created. One reality is that the body and mind have to rely on “food” to maintain physical life and spiritual life, must be fed “healthy food” to maintain health. We can strengthen our willpower and discipline through prayer, reading the Holy Books and letting God’s words become our mental and spiritual food. We cultivate mindfulness like we prepare the right food for our mind. We can learn more about our own mind’s activities and be aware of its condition through meditation practice. We also can gain strength from the Holy Spirit through meditation too. This needs practice in our daily life. When we have God’s words as our spiritual food to feed our minds, and God’s love in our hearts, our mind heart and spirit will become stronger and stronger over time. Then we can love others more and give others the right mental and spiritual food, and fulfill the real purpose for which we were created. This is one of the realities of human creation.