This is one of the pieces of prose that I’ve written that I feel can provide a new and healing way to look at metabolism. This piece is from my book, The Slow Down Diet. Sometimes, when we talk about health and nutrition, it’s good to bypass the intellect and communicate from a place of the sacred. Let me know what you think.
The Metabolic Power of the Sacred
Have you ever had a religious, divine, or extraordinary experience that affected you deeply? One that left you feeling renewed, reborn, transformed in body or spirit? One that couldn’t be explained, yet you know it happened? If so, then you surely experienced the metabolic power of the sacred.
Because each of us is a radiant soul moving through life’s journey in a biological spacesuit, every soul experience is registered within as a metabolic event. We experience the world because chemistry helps make it so. Our feelings of love, for example, owe their existence to a specific chemistry generated in the body that is unique and specific to love. The same is true for feelings of hope, loyalty, silliness, cynicism, and any imaginable personality state. Who we are and what we feel moment to moment has a precise biochemical equivalent.
Sacred metabolism is the chemistry ignited in the body when we are infused by the Divine. Because the Divine is the source of power behind all powers, the chemistry created when we experience the Divine supersedes all known laws of the body.
Sacred chemistry is a meta-chemistry.
Its effects can include or incorporate familiar psycho-physiologic states such as the relaxation response, brain-hemispheric synchronization, pleasure chemistry, immune-system mobilization, and others. But certainly its boundaries far surpass what science can explain. When we enter the realm of sacred metabolism then, we are on new scientific ground. The most reliable tools we have to proceed with are observation, experience, and the light of the truth.
Some of the ways that sacred metabolism may be revealed in the body include, prayer, fasting, meditation, experiences in nature, sports, yoga, music, dance, a sweat lodge, artistic pursuits, sleeplessness, illness, recovery, near-death experiences, transformational drugs, sexual intimacy, stressful events, war, injury, hunting, grief, falling in love, and religious rituals of every variety.
When the metabolic power of the sacred is activated in the body, a portal is opened to a fantastic assortment of biological empowerments that would otherwise have no entry point. History is replete with examples of saints, yogis, shamans, messiahs, and ordinary folk whose fantastic metabolic powers are legendary. An abundance of well-documented cases have highlighted abilities such as clairvoyance, telekinesis, spontaneous healing, incredible strength, and the mystifying intellectual capacities of savants, to name just a few. But what we oftentimes label as anomalous or miraculous are simply latent biological traits activated once we are touched by the hands of the Divine.
Where this leaves us, of course, is at the frontier. Most of what we know about the capabilities of the human form is but the tiniest fraction of what is possible. Could it be that the advances in wellbeing that medical science has promised for decades, but still longs to deliver, will come not from anything outside of us – experts and technology – but will arrive through our co-evolutionary relationship with the Divine? Is it possible that the fulfillment of your metabolic destiny is to be found inside you, intelligently seeded there and awaiting your discovery?
Eight Sacred Metabolizers
The question that’s certainly worth asking is this: How can we engage the metabolic power of the sacred? In what ways can we reliably court its powers? Many believe the answer is austere religious practices or intense hours of yoga or meditation. But I would suggest that the sacred has its own terms that are available to all of us, in this time and place, and those terms are these: love, truth, courage, commitment, compassion, forgiveness, faith and surrender.
These eight sacred metabolizers – and no doubt there are more – are sacred because such soul qualities bring us closer to the heart of the Divine, to the intelligence that created us. By embodying them we become more like the source from whence we came, more of who we are meant to be and who we know, somewhere inside, we want to be. And I’m suggesting that when activated in our system, the eight sacred metabolizers can produce profound healings and powers, metabolic breakthroughs, and rejuvenating effects on body and spirit.
Essentially, these eight metabolizers have been classically viewed as qualities or traits, not material quantities unto themselves. And yet I would say that every sacred metabolizer is both a force and a substance. E = MC2. Energy and matter are interchangeable. Somewhere in the body, love molecules squirt about when feelings of love are activated. Perhaps it’s a class of chemicals, or maybe there’s a central love molecule around which the others gather and carouse. Similarly, when feeling courage the body will create the chemical equivalent of that trait in order for you and I to experience it. That’s the nature of reality as it is lived in the biology of a body. Every feeling has a molecular correlate. Such substances arise in response to the soul invoking those qualities. First comes the thought or feeling, then comes the molecule.
Right now, think of someone in your life who pushes your buttons or stresses you out. If you focus hard enough on that person’s faults, you’ll phone in an order to your inner pharmacy and quickly fill a prescription for stress chemicals to be delivered throughout the body. We create our chemistry instantaneously, as fast or faster than the speed of light. And just as the biblical God proclaimed “Let there be light” and it was created, so too do we create ourselves moment to moment. When you say “Let there be anger,” the body instantly builds a universe of anger within. When we say “Let there be kindness,” kindness chemistry is fashioned in a like manner.
We are that powerful.
Observe your own life and you’ll probably notice that the larger life we live in has its brilliant way of evoking the sacred eight – love, truth, courage, commitment, compassion, forgiveness, faith, surrender. They’re often at the center stage of our most important life passages and lessons. The more our soul yearns for these qualities and the more we call them forth and create them through our personal efforts, the more these molecules literally build in our system and work their metabolic magic. If that sounds far-fetched to you, consider that this concept is no different than Prozac. You take a bunch of pills that were produced in an outside chemical factory (as opposed to your internal one), and the critical molecules need to build in your system for weeks until they lift your spirits, so to speak.
Likewise, the more faith you have, or the more you exercise faith, the more faith molecules accumulate and build in your bloodstream. The metabolic substance of faith activates core organ systems such as the heart and brain and exerts its effects throughout the body – effects as simple as invigorating and healing, or as profound as releasing the Mother Teresa or the Martin Luther King Jr. within.
Because the eight sacred metabolizers are experiences, they are “felt” within the body. For the purposes of discussion we can therefore call them “feelings”. And like any feelings, the only way they can be felt is if we feel them. Strangely enough, many of us experience these feelings, but only in partial form. We have faith – sometimes, maybe. We love – but only so far. We’re compassionate – but only toward a chosen few. And we call upon courage – but we shy away from it when facing our greatest fears. Whenever we feel such feelings partially, we under-nourish the soul and literally rob the body of nutrition. We limit the circulation of the cosmic force of life and suppress metabolism. Conversely, the deeper we feel our feelings, the more we can expand into our metabolic potential and the closer we come to the Divine.
Just as exercise puts a demand on the body to build more muscle, utilize oxygen more efficiently, and increase our capacity to breathe, so too does the simple act of being alive as a soul on planet Earth place the “demand” upon us to act with more faith, build more commitment, and live in greater truth.
Life itself is the proper fitness regime.
The eight sacred metabolizers are as essential to the body as food and water, and are literally required in chemical form. If the soul craves love, then so does the body. If the soul craves the lessons of forgiveness, then our cells yearn for those molecules. If life is calling us to compassion, then this nutrient is required for growth and repair. If you’re alive and breathing, the divine realms are calling upon you to produce the chemistry that would elevate you to your highest metabolic potential via the soul lessons that will forge your greatest spiritual strength.
So if you think your nutritional concerns can be rightfully addressed with food alone, think again. When the real-life requirements of the eight sacred metabolizers are not met, the body withers and weakens, loses integrity, and invites disease upon itself, calling forth whatever symptoms are necessary to alert us to the soul lesson that is hungering for nourishment and attention. We can no longer look exclusively in the biological realm to solve health problems that are but downstream effects of the affairs and tides of the soul.
This is not an antiscientific stance. It is preeminently pro-science, a call to allow the language of the soul, and of the sacred, back into the halls of medicine from whence it has been cast out. It’s high time that we acknowledge the reality of the Divine no matter what our religious beliefs, and invite the sacred to inform our practices of healing, eating, loving, and all our earthly pursuits.
I hope this piece on the metabolic power of the sacred, excerpted from my book, The Slow Down Diet, has inspired you to imagine some new possibilities about how the biology of the body might be a powerful mirror of the soul.
Please share your thoughts with us. What are some of your favorite ways to express the sacred in your life?
Become a Mind Body Eating Coach
Now enrolling for October 2023.
Make real, lasting change - in your life and the lives of others using eating psychology coaching tools.
Subscribe to The Psychology of Eating Podcast
Get notified when new episodes go live.