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  #1  
Old 03-01-2020, 09:18 AM
Altair Altair is offline
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Spirituality, mental health and nutrition

Disclaimer: This is going to be controversial. If you do not wish to question spiritual beliefs and a possible relationship with mental health issues than please do not read on.

I was inspired to delve into this topic after seeing shows on TV where people were stranded in the wilds and had no food (sometimes also no water). Their health deteriorates and often they start having hallucinations. A second inspiration for me is that I'm not unfamiliar hearing about ascetic idealisms due to doing yoga myself and with other people. Why am I linking this with spirituality? Because many religions and spiritual traditions started out by ascetics that preached sense deprivation. Often there are malnourished leaders described, or seen. The Buddha was said to have been very skinny after meditating too much and forsaking food. Various modern guru's also look rather skinny. Others are bordering on obesity, but as asceticism is such a core tenet of many beliefs, at least in their origins, I will focus on this.

Asceticism is a lifestyle where the follower deprives him or herself of pleasures and lives a minimalist lifestyle. The belief is that this will lead to spiritual insights and uncovering the mystery of the universe. If one rejects the bodily pleasures and comfort than one will come closer to 'higher', spiritual realizations, or so goes the mantra.

This can be rather innocent, from abstaining from a third meal a day to an extreme lifestyle where any hint of self pleasure or acknowledgement is rejected, and one sleeps in uncomfortable places as not to feel any comfort. More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asceticism

Jesus had ascetic tendencies and did not preach the worldly life. Buddha was ascetic, as were many other guru's from India.

Now this is where things becomes interesting...

What unites these people isn't just the appeal of asceticism, but also the fact they eat very little and inadequate, and their tradition originates from poor countries. They see a lot of suffering around them and feel that one should ''escape'' the world. In order to do this they think they should live poor and simple themselves, and eat simple food, often heavily dominated by carbs such as rice or bread. Poorer countries are more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Here are the most common deficiencies in India, which is supposedly the most ''spiritual'' country: https://www.asianage.com/life/health...-in-india.html

Deficiencies common there can lead to hallucination and psychosis: https://www.greatplainslaboratory.co...-schizophrenia / https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...24933817315729 / https://pinnaclife.com/medical-condi...-and-symptoms/


If someone tells you to water fast for a month in order to ''contact your higher self'', or tells you to stay in the monastery and not get outside, think hard and think about your health first. These ascetic traditions could be creating 'truths' that 'work' when one lives on poor nutrition, giving weight that this is about poor health that induces hallucination, which is then written down as 'truth'. I have also scanned through a couple of spiritual retreats online, often there's a focus on little meals (lot of rice and bread) and from reviews online it does not sound adequate.

Could some much 'treasured' spirituality, taught by Indian guru's and end-of-the-world preachers, such as Jesus, early Christians and the gnostics, and other ascetics across the world, be a by-product of mere sense deprivation and nutritional deficiencies? Were they all suffering from health issues? Similar to how a lost person in the wild starts to hallucinate once the body gets into serious danger? Who knows.
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2020, 03:09 AM
FallingLeaves FallingLeaves is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altair
Disclaimer: This is going to be controversial. If you do not wish to question spiritual beliefs and a possible relationship with mental health issues than please do not read on.

I was inspired to delve into this topic after seeing shows on TV where people were stranded in the wilds and had no food (sometimes also no water). Their health deteriorates and often they start having hallucinations. A second inspiration for me is that I'm not unfamiliar hearing about ascetic idealisms due to doing yoga myself and with other people. Why am I linking this with spirituality? Because many religions and spiritual traditions started out by ascetics that preached sense deprivation. Often there are malnourished leaders described, or seen. The Buddha was said to have been very skinny after meditating too much and forsaking food. Various modern guru's also look rather skinny. Others are bordering on obesity, but as asceticism is such a core tenet of many beliefs, at least in their origins, I will focus on this.

Asceticism is a lifestyle where the follower deprives him or herself of pleasures and lives a minimalist lifestyle. The belief is that this will lead to spiritual insights and uncovering the mystery of the universe. If one rejects the bodily pleasures and comfort than one will come closer to 'higher', spiritual realizations, or so goes the mantra.

This can be rather innocent, from abstaining from a third meal a day to an extreme lifestyle where any hint of self pleasure or acknowledgement is rejected, and one sleeps in uncomfortable places as not to feel any comfort. More: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asceticism

Jesus had ascetic tendencies and did not preach the worldly life. Buddha was ascetic, as were many other guru's from India.

Now this is where things becomes interesting...

What unites these people isn't just the appeal of asceticism, but also the fact they eat very little and inadequate, and their tradition originates from poor countries. They see a lot of suffering around them and feel that one should ''escape'' the world. In order to do this they think they should live poor and simple themselves, and eat simple food, often heavily dominated by carbs such as rice or bread. Poorer countries are more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Here are the most common deficiencies in India, which is supposedly the most ''spiritual'' country: https://www.asianage.com/life/health...-in-india.html

Deficiencies common there can lead to hallucination and psychosis: https://www.greatplainslaboratory.co...-schizophrenia / https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...24933817315729 / https://pinnaclife.com/medical-condi...-and-symptoms/


If someone tells you to water fast for a month in order to ''contact your higher self'', or tells you to stay in the monastery and not get outside, think hard and think about your health first. These ascetic traditions could be creating 'truths' that 'work' when one lives on poor nutrition, giving weight that this is about poor health that induces hallucination, which is then written down as 'truth'. I have also scanned through a couple of spiritual retreats online, often there's a focus on little meals (lot of rice and bread) and from reviews online it does not sound adequate.

Could some much 'treasured' spirituality, taught by Indian guru's and end-of-the-world preachers, such as Jesus, early Christians and the gnostics, and other ascetics across the world, be a by-product of mere sense deprivation and nutritional deficiencies? Were they all suffering from health issues? Similar to how a lost person in the wild starts to hallucinate once the body gets into serious danger? Who knows.


well I guess one can spin things any number of ways depending on the point they want to get across.

I will note that people who have more and attain more and always try to get more never seem as satisfied as people who learn do without...
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  #3  
Old 04-01-2020, 04:13 AM
inavalan inavalan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altair
Disclaimer: This is going to be controversial. ...

Could some much 'treasured' spirituality, taught by Indian guru's and end-of-the-world preachers, such as Jesus, early Christians and the gnostics, and other ascetics across the world, be a by-product of mere sense deprivation and nutritional deficiencies? Were they all suffering from health issues? Similar to how a lost person in the wild starts to hallucinate once the body gets into serious danger? Who knows.

This sounds 'scientific' (a pejorative in this context) ...

One can also have great access to the afterlife realm by killing themselves (!)

People try to access altered states of consciousness using all kind of techniques, some worse than others, because they don't know better.

With self-hypnosis you can see for yourself.
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Everything expressed here is what I believe. Keep that in mind when you read my post, as I kept it in mind when I wrote it. I don't parrot others. Most of my spiritual beliefs come from direct channeling guidance. I have no interest in arguing whose belief is right, and whose is wrong. I'm here just to express my opinions, and read about others'.
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  #4  
Old 04-01-2020, 09:29 AM
Altair Altair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FallingLeaves
well I guess one can spin things any number of ways depending on the point they want to get across.
I will note that people who have more and attain more and always try to get more never seem as satisfied as people who learn do without...

This thread is about the relationship between mental health issues, nutrition deficiencies and spirituality. It seems many ascetic traditions come originally from poor countries, and embrace a lifestyle that often necessitates sense deprivation as a spiritual ideal.

Ascetic traditions are trying to replicate experiences that people suffering from malnourishment, starvation, and sleep deprivation also experience. These traditions could be mass deluding themselves generation after generation, trying to create conditions that are known to cause hallucination and delusions.

If for example some say ''fast for a month for spiritual growth'' or ''you only need 4 hours of sleep'' than we should question this, as such deprivations are known to create mental health issues, and this should not be fetishized as 'spiritual growth'.

I think it's important to stay grounded, and this isn't just a matter of ''attitude'', it's about lifestyle as a whole.

PS.; Why do you quote such a long post when you (1) don't directly comment on the content, and (2) when the post is right above your own? It makes for needless scrolling on a page and nobody will read my comment twice if it's just on the same page.
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  #5  
Old 04-01-2020, 10:59 PM
ocean breeze ocean breeze is offline
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People still do these things??? I thought this was way back in ancient times. I thought now a days it would be more along the lines of suppressing your negativity and helping others to enhance your spiritual image.

I believe Buddha realized the error of this after almost dying hence his way became "the middle path."




Later. I'm going to take a nap in my bed of nails soon.
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  #6  
Old 05-01-2020, 10:21 AM
Altair Altair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ocean breeze
People still do these things??? I thought this was way back in ancient times. I thought now a days it would be more along the lines of suppressing your negativity and helping others to enhance your spiritual image.

I believe Buddha realized the error of this after almost dying hence his way became "the middle path."

I think it's more common in certain spiritual traditions, but yes, it's still a thing. The major world religions have ascetic origins, preachers and saviours that taught about the 'value' of believing that the world is one of only suffering, that one needs to escape it through faith or practice, and doing so would require abstinence from any sensual pleasure and sense of self. Some people start abstaining from pleasure and start to eat less and less food to the point only a green smoothie becomes edible, then entertaining the idea that they can perhaps become breatharians. There are similarities between asceticism and health issues.

These ascetic traditions perform practices and lifestyles where they deprive themselves of food, adequate nutrition, and/or sleep, all in the pursuit of inducing a mystical experience. What is overlooked is that this sense deprivation and embrace of hunger and malnourishment is no different from someone starving in the wilds, or people suffering from eating disorders, anorexia etc. Apparently, anorexic patients can describe their condition as 'happy' and 'light-hearted'. There are simple physiological explanations, and depriving one's self leads to delusional thinking. People may confuse a decline in health with ''light-heartedness'', ''higher self'', and ''detox''.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ocean breeze
Later. I'm going to take a nap in my bed of nails soon.

Yeah, that will certainly *destroy* your ''ego'' and the Lord will come!!
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  #7  
Old 05-01-2020, 07:16 PM
inavalan inavalan is offline
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So, are you saying that you believe there's nothing beyond this life? Or you're saying there is something, but nobody can know what it is, and if you think you know you're mentally ill.
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Everything expressed here is what I believe. Keep that in mind when you read my post, as I kept it in mind when I wrote it. I don't parrot others. Most of my spiritual beliefs come from direct channeling guidance. I have no interest in arguing whose belief is right, and whose is wrong. I'm here just to express my opinions, and read about others'.
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  #8  
Old 05-01-2020, 07:52 PM
Altair Altair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inavalan
So, are you saying that you believe there's nothing beyond this life? Or you're saying there is something, but nobody can know what it is, and if you think you know you're mentally ill.

It's not relevant here what my view on the afterlife is. The point you raise is a drastic one, and it is side tracking. This is about a relationship between mental health issues, deprivation, and 'spirituality'. It's about traditions that may seek to deliberately create circumstances that lead to decline in health, which happens to induce hallucination, which' content then gets touted as spiritual growth or insight. We can observe similar results among people who are in the same circumstances without deliberately creating them.

People with eating disorders such as anorexia may describe their light-headedness as ''raising vibrations'', others may view loss of period as a ''spiritual cleanse'', or may view tooth decay as a ''detoxing effect''. Do you condone and judge hunger, malnourishment, and sleep deprivation as valid strategies for spiritual growth? Do you think anorexia, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders are signs of 'spirituality'?
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  #9  
Old 05-01-2020, 08:34 PM
inavalan inavalan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Altair
It's not relevant here what my view on the afterlife is. The point you raise is a drastic one, and it is side tracking. This is about a relationship between mental health issues, deprivation, and 'spirituality'. It's about traditions that may seek to deliberately create circumstances that lead to decline in health, which happens to induce hallucination, which' content then gets touted as spiritual growth or insight. We can observe similar results among people who are in the same circumstances without deliberately creating them.

People with eating disorders such as anorexia may describe their light-headedness as ''raising vibrations'', others may view loss of period as a ''spiritual cleanse'', or may view tooth decay as a ''detoxing effect''. Do you condone and judge hunger, malnourishment, and sleep deprivation as valid strategies for spiritual growth? Do you think anorexia, schizophrenia, and other mental disorders are signs of 'spirituality'?

Ok
Quote:
This is about a relationship between mental health issues, deprivation, and 'spirituality'

I believe that everybody can have spiritual experiences (I mean can establish connections with their inner source of knowledge and guidance, no matter their religious beliefs).

To achieve that, one has to get in a light to moderate trance (every physical and psychic activity has an optimum trance level). Trance is a focus of awareness on the consciousness continuum. Full awareness of the physical is trance level 0%, and complete lack of awareness of the physical is trance level 100%.

Both the trance and the contact are intermediated by subconscious.

Historically, people achieved trance through all kind of techniques (including rituals) without knowing how and why they work, or when they work. Those chance techniques were transmitted to others more or less distorted, with very low odds of success, usually.

All those ascetic, deprivation, mutilation, pain inducing, and such techniques used to induce spiritual experiences intend to put the practitioner into the appropriate level of trance. Some of those techniques, occasionally, do that.

We all experience whatever we believe. That is why a true truth seeker has to leave aside all their beliefs, biases, expectations when they access their inner knowledge source.

That is also why the overwhelming number of people never get a glimpse of the wider reality, even though some of them believe they did / do.

There are mentally ill people who don't know that they are. There are also mentally ill people that have many followers that believe in them.

I wouldn't say that there is any connection between mental illness and true spirituality. So, I believe that those that use methods like those you criticized in your posts, are unfortunate fools.
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Everything expressed here is what I believe. Keep that in mind when you read my post, as I kept it in mind when I wrote it. I don't parrot others. Most of my spiritual beliefs come from direct channeling guidance. I have no interest in arguing whose belief is right, and whose is wrong. I'm here just to express my opinions, and read about others'.
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  #10  
Old 06-01-2020, 11:01 AM
Altair Altair is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inavalan
That is also why the overwhelming number of people never get a glimpse of the wider reality, even though some of them believe they did / do.
It's because religion for the masses focusses on different things. Did you also consider the possibility that many people don't create conditions, i.e. they don't starve themselves, sleep on nail beds, or have an eating disorder. If I follow you correctly, than do you come to the conclusion that anorexia, schizophrenia, depression, and severe malnourishment are possible signs of spiritual living (?).

Quote:
Originally Posted by inavalan
There are mentally ill people who don't know that they are. There are also mentally ill people that have many followers that believe in them.

There's the possibility that religions started with confused men that impressed the crowds with fancy tales, based on their prolonged sense deprived practices that induced certain experiences. Jesus and Buddha were both fasting for prolonged periods. It's interesting how those suffering from an eating disorder or starvation are more likely to experience hallucination. The guy stranded in the wilds who couldn't find food, etc. Others then get mesmerized by these ''otherworldly'' preachers, and may feel determined to also create conditions that deprive the body of health.


Creating Hallucinations Without Drugs Is Surprisingly Easy: https://www.sciencealert.com/how-to-...y-easy-science

What Happens To The Body And Mind When Starvation Sets In?: https://wamu.org/story/16/01/20/what...ion_ sets_in/.
Quote:
''The role of extreme forms of asceticism associated with a lack of proper sleep, inadequate food, and self-induced bodily and mental pain also make a contribution to stimulating the production of certain neurochemicals that affect a person. Taking into consideration these various potential influences on the brain and body, it is plausible to conclude that the ascetic imagines certain types of powers.
The imaginings and hallucinations about being powerful are more than infantile fantasies that become delusions when they are believed. Instead the ascetic's vivid imagination gives rise to flights of fantasy where anything is possible, enabling an ascetic to creatively remake the past, create a new future, and to invent something for the present despite the penchant of many Indian ascetics to be free of the cycle of time.''
Carl Olson, Indian Asceticism: Power, Violence, and Play.
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