This article is inspired by my tendency to project negativity onto dairy products, including cheese. As if eating or not eating cheese would really result in spiritual advancement. The key with all spiritual advancement is letting go of attachments and aversions, which is on an unseen level. So, whether or not one has cheese is really irrelevant – what matters is if one thinks they can’t be happy without cheese, or if on the other hand they think they’ll never be happy within 100 miles of cheese. In both cases, we can see the absurdity – yet the ego/mind still thinks it makes sense.
So, if you find yourself adverse to cheese, perhaps caught up in some self-righteousness bout veganism, perhaps try a piece of cheese and notice how the world doesn’t come to an end. There is a chance the body might actually have a negative response to it if it hasn’t consumed dairy in a while, but chances are that in moderation the cheese will not drastically effect the health and wellbeing of either body or mind. You might notice a bit more mucus when you blow your nose the next morning, but that’s not the end of the world either, is it?
Of course, one doesn’t have to go trying cheese if one finds oneself condemning, judging, or demonizing it. ‘Trying it’ might just aid in freeing oneself of the ignorance of condemning it in the first place, but ultimately the freedom can be had internally without relying on an external action. One need not try heroin in order to be free from condemning or demonizing it.
The internal process of freeing one from an attachment or an aversion can be as follows:
- Identify that which you are attached or averse to. To use the example of eating cheese, the example that sets, the process by which it came about, and the detrimental health effects on the body. Notice, the aversion might initially just look like to the idea of cheese, but when we examine the aversion more closely, we find that there are particular payoffs the ego/mind derives from holding to such an aversion. If the aversion were merely to cheese and cheese alone, there is no payoff. But considering that the aversion is really to the health effects of cheese and the process of cheese and any violence associated with producing dairy, we can see how there is ton of juice for the ego/mind and it can really feel prideful from all of its intellectual arrogance. The ego/mind feels strongly that it knows something that is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ and it thrives off the seeming righteousness.
- Continuing with the cheese example, we can ask, “What is really good about cheese? What lessons have I learned from cheese? How has cheese served me in the past? How has it served mankind?” We can consider all the hungry people that cheese feeds, all the satisfaction it brings to people (if only temporarily), the livelihood it brings to dairy producers, who knows how many great leaders of history have been fed by cheese, etc. There are certainly at least two sides to every coin!
- Until, with an aversion – it is as though we are naturally aware of all the cons. But then we can consider the pros, and with humility we can see that we are in ignorance and are incapable of accurately balancing the pros and cons to truthful assess the value of cheese.
All attachments and aversions arise from ignorance. In Reality, there is nothing to be attached or averse to. All is as it is, Divinely affirmed by virtue of its existence. Who are we, what are we to assess anything beyond its Divine Essence? Spiritual Evolution and Freedom is about letting go of our intellectual arrogance and the pride and vanity we get from thinking we know something that is right and something that is wrong – and instead surrendering all that to God, and being with God in affirming the Divinity of all Creation; living in the awareness that all form is fleeting, it is for fun, and we are not meant to attach ourselves to that which is impermanent, but rather we can store up our treasures in Heaven and cling to the unseen Reality of Love, Truth, God.
Remember – the world is for fun! It is the perfect school. It exists to liberate us. If we find ourselves feeling attached or averse – great! – those attachments and aversions are the perfect opportunities for heightened awareness, surrender, and spiritual growth.
Gloria in Excelsis Deo!