Sunday, December 7, 2008
Happy Bodhi Day!
Traditionally celebrated on December 8th, Bodhi day is said to be the day Siddhartha Gautama attained enlightenment, and was henceforth known as "The Buddha."
You say: Great TwistedBarbie, but what does this have to do with body image or eating disorders? Why do I care?
A: Well actually, there are quite a few relations between the two, and yes, I mean besides the lucky tummy that the Buddha is known for. Upon his quest towards enlightment, the Buddha attempted to study with several teachers, many of which thought that to end identification with the body, ignoring it's needs was necessary. After becoming emaciated from starving himself and not having attained enlightenment, the Buddha settled on the idea of the middle path. It is not aid enlightenment to gorge yourself on food, as it does not help attain enlightenment to starve yourself of food. Rather, the middle way, or tending to the needs of the body is the only way to enlightenment. Still having not attained enlightenment, the Buddha vowed that he would sit under the Bodhi tree and meditate until he got to the root of suffering and attained enlightenment. Some sources say he was tempted by the Hindu god Mara (God of illusion) while meditating, but held fast to his practice (does this resonate with anybody?). After sitting under the Bodhi tree for a week, the Buddha attained enlightenment and then was fed rice and milk to regain his strength (yes, carbs AND fat).
So what do we, of all spiritual backgrounds, make of this day?
I know for me, I chose to meditate on the idea that only in attending to all your needs (spiritual, emotional, physical) can I find the truth of myself and rid myself of suffering. I know that i must sustain my strength and physical health and must consume a variety of foods to do this and I can be thankfull that at every meal, I essentially eat myself into creation. I also remember that while Mara or illusion or ED thoughts may taunt me, they are not the essential truth of myself and will merely lead me off the path that I wish to attain.
So with that! Eat some food, rub your belly and make of it what you will!
Happy Bodhi Day!