How do you feel after watching a sad movie or reading a depressing book? Most likely, you would feel awful. But when you watch a comedy or read a light-hearted novel, you are likely to feel good. As you can see, the way we choose to nourish ourselves can produce different results. In fact, it can make or break us. Yet when it comes to our nourishment, most of us follow our moods and passions without considering the long-term effects. While it may not be immediately apparent, every action and choice we make in life has a price. We can choose to pay it now or later. If you wish to take control of your life, then it is important that you pay close attention to the way you nourish yourself.
Yijing Hexagram 27: Nourishment/The Corners of the Mouth
This hexagram is a picture of an open mouth; above and below are firm lines of the lips, and between them the opening. Starting with the mouth, through which we take food for nourishment, the thought leads to nourishment itself. Nourishment of oneself, specifically of the body, is represented in the three lower lines, while the three upper lines represent nourishment and care of others, in a higher, spiritual sense.
The Corners of the Mouth.
Perseverance brings good fortune.
Pay heed to the providing of nourishment
And to what a man seeks
To fill his own mouth with.
In bestowing care and nourishment, it is important that the right people should be taken care of and that we should attend to our own nourishment in the right way. If we wish to know what anyone is like, we have only to observe on whom he bestows his care and what sides of his own nature he cultivates and nourishes. Nature nourishes all creatures. The great man fosters and takes care of superior men, in order to take care of all men through them. Mencius says about this:
If we wish to know whether anyone is superior or not, we need only observe what part of his being he regards as especially important. The body has superior and inferior, important and unimportant parts. We must not injure important parts for the sake of the unimportant, nor must we injure the superior parts for the sake of the inferior. He who cultivates the inferior parts of his nature is an inferior man. He who cultivates the superior parts of his nature is a superior man.
It was not so long ago when I had little control over my emotions. Part of the problem was the way I nourished my mind. I usually thought and perceived things in a very negative manner. Whenever I felt depressed, which was often when you think negatively, I fed those feelings by watching and reading things that only made me feel worse. As such, it took me forever to get out of my funk; I was always moody and unhappy.
The Importance of Proper Nourishment
“You are what you eat,” goes the familiar saying. If you eat junk food or if you eat in excess, you are bound to have health problems eventually. Applied in a broader sense, the way you nourish your mind is also important. Externally, the things you read, watch and listen to can affect your moods. Internally, you are what you think.
Imagine, if you have negative thoughts all the time, how will you have the inner strength to handle challenges in life? If you read, watch or listen to depressing stuff, how will you cope when problems come your way? When you leave your nourishment on autopilot, it is bound to cause needless problems. But inner turmoil does not have to be your default state. You too can have inner peace, but you have to take control and make an effort to nourish yourself in a beneficial way.
The Art of Proper Nourishment
1. Clarity of Purpose
When it comes to nourishment, it helps to know why. Why are you reading, watching or listening to something? What is your purpose? If you want to relax, it might not make sense to watch a serious or depressing movie. If you are sad, it does not help to listen to sad and melancholic music to excess. Being unaware of your motives could lead you to nourish yourself in ways that are not beneficial. But once you are clear about your purpose and motives, you can make the needed changes to nourish yourself in better ways.
2. Choose the Healthier Alternative
There are healthier alternatives in life. When it comes to food, we could eat less red meat and more fruits and vegetables. Instead of a sad movie, we could watch a comedy or something light-hearted. Even though I am not big on feel good movies, there are times I need to feel good. If it means watching the Incredibles or Kung Fu Panda, so be it. Or if I need something more uplifting, I may watch Rocky. But you know best what works for you. So always, choose the healthier alternative.
3. Balance is the Key
I am not suggesting that we should only watch, read and listen to happy things and live in a bubble. All I am saying is that we should be aware of our moods and needs. If we are in a good mood, it does not hurt to watch something serious. But if we are down, then it is best to find something that is upbeat. Imagine a simple scale with happy and sad on the opposing ends. If you are on the happy side, all is well. You just have to make sure that you do not cross over to the sad side. If you are on the sad side, not all is lost. All you have to do is to find ways and means to reach equilibrium and then cross over to happy again. Balance is the key.
4. The Vizier Recommends
Ever since I began my journey to master myself, I have paid careful attention to my nourishment. Things that make me sad and serve no purpose, I avoid. Instead, I seek sources of nourishment that can improve my knowledge, wisdom and bring me inner peace. To this end, I would also recommend the websites below.
Always Well Within: If you want to live fully and transform your heart and mind, Sandra Lee’s blog is a good place to start. I love her gentle wisdom and insights into life and living. Be warned though. Hers is not a lightweight blog, as she puts it. It is for people who have no fear about thinking deeply and bringing about positive change in their lives.
Britetalk: I love Andrea’s writing because of her warmth and happiness. There is a certain serenity about it that I enjoy basking in. That said, Britetalk is all about self-empowerment. If you want to live a happy, passionate and peaceful life, this is the blog to follow.
Prolific Living: Farnoosh runs a very lively blog that I enjoy reading. I feel it is her warm and friendly nature and her exuberance that keeps me going back. Also, it is great fun to add to the conversation on just about anything under the sun. Leave thoughtful comments and get long and lengthy replies from her. I think she is the chattiest blogger I know so far haha!
Art of Chris: If you have followed my blog for some time, you would have seen many of Chris’ pictures. I cannot help myself. The guy is simply inspirational to look at. I am not sure if it is from his jumping around, but if a picture paints a thousand words, then Chris says a lot with his pictures. Just looking at the way he does his death defying feats nourishes my soul and reminds me of the possibilities in life.
When it comes to self-nourishment, it is better to start early. Be aware of the way you nourish yourself and make the changes that is best for you. Time and tide wait for no man or woman and in the meantime, the damage is accumulating. Begin now if you can, but do not put it off any longer. Your life is in your hands.
How do you nourish yourself? Are there any changes that you need to make? What other ways can you think of to ensure that we get proper nourishment? Do you have any recommendations? Do share your thoughts and comments below.