When I was in my late 20’s, I became naturally involved with raw foods, where my diet consisted of fresh, blended, sprouted, or dried fruits, grains, nuts, and vegetables.
I became beautiful. I became pure. I received spontaneous marriage proposals and offers of modeling.
I want to write here why I ended that, before it ended me. By now, I only eat well cooked items, and it has everything to do with Ayurveda.
Late 20’s was an interesting time. I had entered Ketu dasha (Ketu natally in the the tenth), the time of letting go. I certainly did that, but it was also a time of amazing realizations.
For example, classical yoga asanas (postures) would suddenly appear in my heart and mind without any prior exposure. Lacking a yoga mat, I would do them on my open futon, not knowing what I was doing, but doing it well.
After breaking up with my partner of three years I was alone and relished it. I re-evaluated everything with respect to the new body knowledge of “release (asana) is good (Ketu)”.
I led a simple life, then a simpler life, then one of extreme simplicity. I sat on the ground, ate out of a single jar with a single spoon. (Fork tines felt too violent in my hypersensitive body. And chairs with their 4 pointy legs seemed like they hurt the ground and interfered with my connection to it.)
Freshness, purity in my food and water became the focus of my days. I was a quick 2 block bike ride from Whole Foods and soon my oversized bike baskets were filled with gorgeous fruits, sopranic greens, novel grains. My limited money was devoted almost wholly to this.
My eyes started turning from dark brown to greenish blue.
There is actually a type of saddhu in India who lives on only fruits and vegetables. I can see the power of this approach. Looking back, my body was never more sensitive, more aware, more pure, but what was ethereally wafting IN the temple? Alas, just the same me. Finally I realized I couldn’t get rid of that me, and that ethereal essence is the most important thing of all.
How did I begin this journey? One day, I was hypnotically drawn to the book Raw, on the cooking shelf of the local bookstore. With the same fervor that I brought to exploring The Moosewood Cookbook in college, I made every recipe in that beautifully designed book.
I believe that was in May, Colorado’s most outrageously colorful, delightful month. High on the lightness of this food, I felt the blueness of the sky sparkling everywhere overhead, the mountains in the distance were emitting a motherly type of gravitation, birds were out, saying hi.
The sun seemed like it went through and enlivened every cell of my ever thinning body.
Always interested in being active, I found my every step, every turn of my bike wheel, and every breath to be joyous and yes, pure.
I also was deeply alone, and it was great.
I hadn’t received instruction in meditation, but something like meditation would happen spontaneously throughout the day, like the yoga postures earlier. Some kind of innate intelligence was taking over, and I found I could not only trust it, but it was giving me ideas and answers that were consistent with the few Great Teachers that I knew of, such as the Buddha and Jesus Christ.
I was in a swirl of sensation and the foodie in me kept experimenting. My favorites were greens and sprouts. I looked on the internet for hours each day, mostly reading about other raw foods recipes.
There was a raw foods conference in Portland. It was a little pricey for me at $50 but I saved up for a bus ticket and went. My sister, who lived there then, really wanted to host me, to take me to the famous Powell’s Bookstore and a small Thai restaurant nearby.
I wasn’t really interested, relishing my singularity but I felt I should honor my sister, my singularity hadn’t yet turned selfish, and my 17 year long Mercury dasha had not been that long ago, so I had a modicum of interest in books still.
Mostly I chose to share in my sister’s sensibilities and gifts with culture and the written word. I think I looked at raw foods books and their allies in permaculture farming, societal idealization, and so on.
We then went to the restaurant. I had a few grains of cooked rice, the first cooked stuff I had eaten in months. My energy for lack of a more appropriately powerful and encompassing word sank down my spine immediately. I felt very sick.
My sister’s feelings were hurt that I did not enjoy this special meal more.
I left in a dark haze and went to the conference.
There I became happy again, surrounded by people who seemed much like me. I tried jackfruit for the first time and sipped on young coconut. Everyone seemed to be at the same vibration as me.
I met a resplendent young fellow named Tre Arrow. He was quietly and shiningly absorbing all that was around him. We exchanged numbers.
I went home. Fall and then frigid snow set in, Vaata season in our high desert microclimate. In the next two years, I started wigging out, lost my reason, lost more pounds, lost friends, but found Ayurveda, what has become my Great Love.
Dr. Lad would read my pulses at this time, and declared me to be a “4+ Vaata”, compared to what for me should be a 3. Vaata, the cause of disease, was running rampant through my system. I didn’t know yet what havoc it would bring.
I was hard, certain, about continuing raw foods. I was boiled down to my essence and wanted to stay that way.
The other students, amazing people really, couldn’t relate to me, barefoot, eating dried dates like a chipmunk outside in the wind and cold of winter in minimall Albuquerque.
Resisting the comforts and teachings of the Vedas that were all around me, I grasped more tightly to raw food, my only passion, my necessity. (People said I looked wonderful though.)
I could not focus on the teachings. My years of singularity made relating to people, especially such awesome respectable people, very very difficult. Their own sensitivities made me realize my seeming ridiculousness and so my grasp tightened onto raw foods, furthering the cycle of separateness.
I was all Air and Space. There was nothing for the teachings or the other students to grab onto, and frankly I was attached to how free I felt. My ego felt I was doing the right thing, and I was very attached to my singularity, my own sensations, my ego. To other people, I was barely there, figuratively and literally.
My thoughts were like a plastic bag in the wind. Yet, the remnants of my prior clarity and what I got from Dr. Lad’s teachings at least gifted me one certain electric meta-certainty: Ayurveda is true, all of it.
Extremely scared, I knew I was becoming Ayurvedic. I had been so great, I thought. I knew that I would change, but to what, to whom?
Renay Oshop - teacher, searcher, researcher, immerser, rejoicer, enjoying the interstices between Twitter, Facebook, and journals.