The Many Levels of Nourishment
by: Chopra Center University

Nourishment is central to our wellbeing on all levels, but we most commonly think of it in terms of food. For instance, we think of nourishing meals and the good feelings they evoke. But nourishment goes much deeper as well. Every living thing in the universe seeks nourishment in various forms and on various levels.

Nourishment as Giving and Receiving

All of us are constantly exchanging energy with our environments – taking things in that nourish us, and giving things out that nourish others. In countless different ways, we are all linked in a vast and deeply interconnected web of giving and receiving. For instance, during every in-breath we receive oxygen from the plant kingdom, and during every out-breath we give to this kingdom carbon dioxide in return. In the process both plants and humans are mutually nourished by one another. Seen in this light, nourishment is intimately connected to the principles of giving and receiving.

At each level of our multi-dimensional makeup, the need for nourishment plays itself out in a dynamic process of giving and receiving. For instance, we seek nourishment through touch, through companionship and relationships, through our work and service, as well as emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Each level that we exist and operate on has its own need for nourishment – its own need to give and receive.

Nourishment as a Manifestation of Oneness

We might wonder why the universe is set up like this – why there is this constant need to give and receive on all levels. The answer lies within the inherent oneness seated at the heart of all existence.

Connection and interdependence are primary ways this universal oneness manifests itself in our everyday consciousness. Because all things are inherently connected, no being can exist on its own, isolated and apart from the rest of creation. Rather, each of us is tied to the whole through processes of mutual exchange and mutual dependence ─ the mutual giving and receiving of nourishment.

Nourishment of the Spirit

There is another way as well in which nourishment is tied to our deeper existence. In our normal consciousness the need for nourishment often manifests in us as a sense of want, or even as hunger. For example, when we get hungry it’s a signal that we need to take in nourishment to fill a need at our bodily level. Or when we feel lonely, it may be a signal that we need to nourish ourselves with greater connection and relationship to others. On the surface, these types of interpretations may be valid, but underneath the surface something far deeper may be going on as well.

At root, all desire, need, or sense of want stem from a consciousness that is not yet fully aware of its own deepest truth, its own divine nature, its own absolute perfection, its own inherent completion, its own infinite oneness, its own unending bliss. A smaller or greater consciousness of lack and separation still lurks within us and drives us to seek completion and fulfillment – drives us to seek nourishment in some form or another.

But this same drive for nourishment and fulfillment can be turned around and used to deepen our awareness of our true self as well. Instead of merely fulfilling the particular need or hunger in the usual way, we can also use it as an invitation to connect with our divine nature, to seek nourishment from our deepest being. As we do this, we feed that need at its root and nourish ourselves in the most ultimate way possible. Only in this way will the sense of need be truly quenched.

It is said by the sages that if one has all things the world can offer but lacks the awareness of their true self, they will still feel need and want. But those who gain their true self will feel that every problem has been solved and that every need has been met. They will have found true nourishment – and will in turn extend true nourishment to others.

“Finding the hidden dimensions in yourself is the only way to fulfill your deepest hunger.”  ~Deepak Chopra

Nourishment Through the Teachers Path

For some people, teaching provides a profound way to nourish themselves and others. It’s a way to explore one’s own inner nature more deeply and then help others do the same. At Chopra Center University, we have trained and certified more than 1,900 teachers worldwide and offer comprehensive teacher certification programs in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga, Primordial Sound Meditation, and Perfect Health: Ayurvedic Lifestyle. If you feel that teaching or sharing the tools of yoga, meditation, higher consciousness, or healthy living might be part of your own path of gratitude and self-expression, we invite you to explore one of our teacher certification programs. If you’d like to learn more, please visit Chopra Center University.

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