Monday, May 16, 2011

Unalienable Rights

Why every time I go grocery shopping, I numb myself in protection of the anxiety and panic of confronting my own mortality, face-to-face with self-preservation.

"I have a right to be here."

The very fact, however, that I am here, is proof from the universe itself that I have a right to be here. If I didn't have a right to be here... I wouldn't be here. Bottom-up.

I can say it 'till I'm blue in the face, but it won't make a smidgen of a difference until I believe it.

Feeding myself is a direct response to acknowledging my mortality, realizing "I am human: this body, and this life is impermanent," and that recognition means accepting the transience of my life, my actions and their repercussions as well as the lives of those I love. And that is scary.

Tich Naht Hahn, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk teaches mindful consumption:
"Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I vow to cultivate good health, both physical, and mental for myself, my family and society by practicing mindful eating, drinking and consuming. I vow to ingest only items that preserve peace, well-being and joy in my body, in my consciousness and in the collective consciousness of my family and society. I understand that a proper diet is crucial to self-transformation and for the transformation of society. I am determined not to use alcohol or any other intoxicant, or to ingest food or other items that contain toxins, such as certain television programs, magazines, books, films, and conversations. I am aware that to damage my body or consciousness with these poisons is to betray my ancestors, my parents, my society, and future generations. I will work to transform violence, fear, anger, and confusion, in myself and in society by practicing mindful eating for myself and for society."
This pushes me to think differently about what it means to feed myself. How do I feed my eyes, my mind, my spirit? It gives a whole new meaning to the idea of food, which for so long I have believed I didn't deserve, shouldn't have, or didn't need. There are many aspects of myself that need to be fed, nourished, sustained.
But in the end, it's all impermanent.

Still, "I have a right to be here."

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