Chapter 3: The Navel: Seat of Will
There have been people whose very ideas make us feel strange. There was a great emperor called Nero. He had two doctors whose job it was just to make him vomit after his meals so that he could enjoy eating at least fifteen to twenty times a day. He would eat a meal and then he would take medicine to make him vomit so that he could enjoy food again. But what we are doing is not very different.
Nero could have doctors at his palace because he was an emperor. We are not emperors, but we have doctors in our neighborhoods. Nero was making himself vomit every day, we make ourselves vomit every few months. We eat a wrong diet and accumulate all kinds of things. Then the doctor gives us a cleansing and we start eating the wrong food again. Nero was a wise man - he arranged for a cleansing every day. We do it only after every two or three months. If we were also emperors then we would do the same thing, but we are helpless - we do not have the facilities so we cannot do it. We laugh at Nero, but in a certain way we are not different from him.
Our wrong attitudes towards food are becoming dangerous to us. They are proving to be very costly. They have taken us to a point where we are somehow barely alive. Our food does not seem to create health in us, it seems to create sickness. It is a surprising situation when our food starts making us sick. It is as if the sunrise in the morning were to create darkness - this would be an equally surprising and strange thing to happen. But all the physicians in the world are of the opinion that most of the diseases of man are because of his wrong diet.
So the first thing is that every person should be very aware and conscious about his eating. And I am saying this especially for the meditator. It is necessary for a meditator to remain aware of what he eats, how much he eats and what its effects are on his body. If you experiment for a few months with awareness, you will certainly find out which is the right food for you, which food gives you tranquility, peace and health. There are no real difficulties, but because you do not pay any attention to your food you are never able to discover the right food.
The second thing about food is that the state of your mind when you eat is much more important than what you eat. Food will affect you differently if you eat joyously, happily or if you eat when you are filled with sadness and worry.
If you are eating in a worried state, then even the best food will have a poisonous effect. And if you are eating with joy, then it is possible that sometimes even poison may not be able to have its total effect on you - it is very possible. So the state of mind you are in when you eat is important.