To seek love in food is to relapse into emotional babyhood
When we were infants, food signified not just nutrition but also affection. Our mother’s love came streaming to us through the milk from her breasts as she held us lovingly to her bosom.
We may not remember that experience consciously now, but its effect lingers subconsciously, making us see food as not just sustenance for the body but also comfort for the heart. That’s why when we feel troubled, we sometimes seek food to solace ourselves.
What made our mother’s milk so comforting was not just the milk but the reassurance of her love represented by her milk.
Unfortunately, our craving for comfort through food is exploited by the gigantic food industry. The commercialization of food frequently divorces it from any affectionate relationship with the food-giver. What made our mother’s milk so comforting was not just the milk but the reassurance of her love represented by her milk. When we consume commercially marketed food, its glamorized depiction raises our hopes for comfort, but as it is usually delivered without any affection, all it offers is fleeting titillation. Craving for the missing affection, many people consume more and more food, sometimes ending up among the increasing number of food addicts. The reality and gravity of food addiction is evident in the alarming statistics of obesity globally.
To avoid becoming thus entrapped, we need to match our physical growth with emotional growth. Of course, our emotional capacity has grown – we experience far more emotions than an infant. Yet, we are still prone to relapse into emotional babyhood when we seek love and comfort and relief in food during moments of trouble.
How can we prevent such a relapse?
When we find ourselves in trouble, we just need to seek comfort not in food, but in prayerful remembrance of Krishna.
By expanding our emotions to encompass the spiritual. We are at our core souls, parts of the supreme spiritual reality, God, Krishna. Whatever affection and protection and satisfaction we experienced in our mother’s arms, we can experience all that and much more in Krishna’s shelter. Bhakti-yoga is the time-honored process for realizing and relishing that shelter. Devotional meditation can provide us far greater solace and strength than food or for that matter anything else. When we find ourselves in trouble, we just need to seek comfort not in food, but in prayerful remembrance of Krishna.
Significantly bhakti-yoga doesn’t reject food or its comfort – it helps us see food in connection with its original source. All food comes from nature and nature comes from Krishna, the Lord who loves us far more than anyone else and who expresses that love by providing us food and all our other necessities. If we gratefully offer our food to him as an expression of our love to him, as the Bhagavad-gita (09.26) recommends, the food becomes sanctified by his grace. In relishing such food, we savor not just the taste of the food, but also the shelter of Krishna’s eternal love.