Chapter 3: The Navel: Seat of Will
Socrates died from poisoning and Gandhi died from a bullet. A bullet does not see whether the man is a saint or a sinner; neither does poison see whether the man is Socrates or some ordinary person. Neither do the harmful intoxicants and poisons nor does the food see who or what you are. Their functions are straightforward - they go into the chemistry of the body and start working. In this way, any food which is intoxicating will start harming and creating disturbances in man’s consciousness. Any food which takes man into any kind of unconsciousness, any kind of excitement, any kind of extremity, any kind of disturbance, is harmful. And the deepest, ultimate harm is when these things start reaching the navel.
Perhaps you are not aware that in naturopathy, all over the world, mud packs, vegetarian food, light food, water-soaked cloth strips and tub baths are used to heal the body. But no naturopath has yet understood the point that the effects on the body of water-soaked cloth strips, mud packs or tub baths are not so much because of their special qualities but because of how they affect the navel center. And the navel center then affects the rest of the body. All these things - the mud, the water, the tub bath - affect the dormant energy in the navel center, and when this energy arises the person starts to become healthy.
But naturopathy is still not aware of this. Naturopathy thinks that perhaps these beneficial effects are coming from the mud packs, the tub baths or the wet strips on the stomach! They do have benefits, but the real benefits are coming from the awakening of energy in the dormant navel center.
If the navel center is mistreated, if a wrong diet, wrong food is used, then slowly, slowly the navel center will become dormant and its energy will become weaker. Slowly, slowly that center will start falling asleep. Finally, it will almost go to sleep. Then we are not even aware of it as a center. Then we are aware of only two centers: one is the mind where thoughts are constantly moving, and the other is a little bit of the heart where emotions are moving. We have no contact with anything deeper than this. So the lighter the food is, the less it creates heaviness on the body, the more valuable and significant it will be for the beginning of your inner journey.
For a right-diet, the first thing to remember is that it should not create excitement, it should not be intoxicating, it should not be heavy. After eating rightly you should not feel heaviness and drowsiness. But perhaps all of us feel heaviness and drowsiness after our meals: then we should know that we are eating wrongly.
A very great doctor, Kenneth Walker, has said in his autobiography that, according to his lifelong experiences, whatever people eat, half of it fills their stomachs and half of it fills the stomachs of the doctors. If they were to eat only half of what they usually eat, they would not become sick at all and there would be no need for any doctors.
Some people get sick because they do not get enough food, and some people get sick because they get too much food. Some people die of hunger and some people die of overeating. And the number of people dying of overeating has always been more than the people dying of hunger. Very few people die of hunger. Even if a man wants to starve himself, there is no possibility of his dying for at least three months. Anyone can live without food for three months. But if a man overeats for three months, then there is no possibility that he will survive.