Food for the body, nourishment for the soul

February 23, 2012

Lifestyle, Love, Philosophical

If scriptures are the main course, then to me, beauty is the appetizer.

by Irene Conlan — 

Almost every day, there is a new article or news item about food. Every day we pick and choose what we want to eat, whether or not it fits into someone else’s idea of a balanced diet. We read about superfoods, whole foods, organic foods, genetically engineered food, packaged food — for the body. But what about food for our souls?

I used to think that the soul was fed only through the study of sacred scriptures — the Bible, the Vedas or the Tao Te Ching, for example. I still believe their teachings are valuable, but they are only one course in a three-course meal for the soul. Scripture is perhaps the “main course” because if we listen closely, we may hear the voice of the Divine and learn valuable lessons from the sacred teachings that have come down through the ages.

If scriptures are the main course, then to me, beauty is the appetizer. Since beauty is in the eye of the beholder, my idea of beauty may be entirely different from yours. And that is not just OK — it is fantastic because there is so much beauty to behold. Beauty comes to us through each of the senses. We are continuously presented with it in some form, if we are awake and aware enough to notice.

Beauty to enjoy with my sense of sight is all around me — everywhere I look. I especially love the beauty in nature: flowers, trees, clouds, clear sky. I also revel in the beauty of a child’s face (especially the faces of my grandsons), any painting by Monet, lovely fabric, a seascape, and sunrises and sunsets. This is just the beginning — my list is endless. Almost everywhere I look I see beauty.

My hearing is thrilled with sounds of the ocean and its constant ebb and flow (it is hard to hear in the desert, but a CD will give you the same feeling), the birds singing outside my window or a child’s laughter. Bach’s “Sleepers Awake!” (Cantata 140) — or almost anything by Bach makes my soul soar, and hearing my sons calling, “Hey, Mom!” brings even more joy.

For my taste? Oh, it has to be chocolate in any form, Maryland crab cakes, a great cup of coffee or a glass of vintage Cabernet Sauvignon. On a hot day, nothing tastes better than a glass of cold, pure, spring water or tasty lemonade. These feed my body and my soul simultaneously.

What tickles my sense of smell? The sweet smell of a baby’s skin, the scent of any flower, the air right after it rains, cinnamon, cookies baking and lavender. With any of these, if I close my eyes and inhale I can feel my soul expand.

And then there is touch. I think of a wonderful massage that kneads my tight, tired muscles and helps me relax, or the feel of silk on my skin or the gentle touch of someone who loves me. When my sons were babies, they would reach up and touch my face with their tiny hands, bringing almost more soul-expanding joy than I could ever imagine.

Beauty is the appetizer for the senses, and the sacred writings are the main course. Now, what is for dessert?

Love is the dessert. Think about what is said of love: love makes the world go around; love heals; perfect love casts out fear; love conquers all; God is love.

Science has proven that the feeling of being loved creates positive change in the body at a cellular level and stimulates the secretion of endorphins — the “feel-good” hormones. Feeling love stimulates the immune system to help your body heal itself. Poets have written about love from the beginning of time, and love songs have been sung throughout the ages. Preachers have preached about love, advertisers exploit it to sell products and now scientists are studying it. We all want it, some long for it and some die for it. Love is the sweetest dessert.

The poet Rumi said, “The soul is here for its own joy.” We are offered so much “soul food” — teachings, beauty, love. It is up to us to reach out and accept it. Taking all you want does not diminish the supply for anyone else. Now is the time to feast.

 

Irene Conlan has a master’s degree in nursing, is a certified hypnotherapist and a certified past-life regression therapist in Scottsdale, Ariz. www.theselfimprovementblog.com, iconlan@cox.net.

Reprinted from AZNetNews, Volume 30, Number 4, Aug/Sept. 2011.

 

PULLOUT:

Beauty to enjoy with my sense of sight is all around me — everywhere I look. I especially love the beauty in nature: flowers, trees, clouds, clear sky.

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