Just as we must properly digest the food we eat to absorb its nutrients, we must also metabolize our experience, as it is received by way of our senses, our nervous systems, our minds, and our hearts. If our rage, grief, disappointment, shame, and pure joy remain partly processed, they become leaky and unable to provide the fuel required for a life of intimacy, connection, contentment, and aliveness.
While the longing for transformation is noble and can be honored, if we are not careful it can serve as yet another re-enactment of the painful realities of materialism and self-abandonment, a clear reflection of the ghosts of the unlived life. One of the shadow sides of spiritual seeking and the (seemingly) endless project of self-improvement is that we never slow down enough to digest what we have already been given… which is everything.
Not the “everything” the mind thinks it needs to be happy and fulfilled, found by way of some "secret" on a journey of internal and external consumerism. Not the “everything” that conforms to our hopes and fears, our dreams of power and control, and keeps us safe and invulnerable from the full-spectrum reality of what it means to have a human heart. But the “everything” that is already here as part of your true nature, the raw materials for a life of inner abundance, revealed by way of humility, not unconscious acquisition.
Just like with food - slowing down and choosing wisely, stopping before you are full, participating mindfully, and staying attuned to what is being assimilated - we can honor the validity, workability, and intelligence of our inner experience, even if it is difficult or disturbing. The willingness to fully digest our own vulnerability, tenderness, confusion, and suffering is an act of love and revolutionary kindness.
There are soul-nutrients buried in the food of our embodied experience that ache to be integrated, metabolized, and digested in the flame of the heart. But this digestion requires the enzymes of presence, compassion, embodiment, and open-heartedness.
So let us slow down and become mindful of the ways we seek to fill the empty hole in the center, whether it be with food when we’re not hungry or experience when we are already full. And in this way we can walk lightly together in this world, on this precious planet, not as hungry ghosts desperate to be fed, but as fellow travelers of interior wealth, richness, and meaning.