“Shiv, your writings have really impressed me. The clarity you write with I can’t say that I’ve encountered it anywhere else. I wonder about your daily life. You said that you have no spiritual practice. Is there some other kind of ritual you follow that helps you to keep your head clear? Just wondering…”
Every morning I wake up around 7:00 and make breakfast for the girls and prepare coffee for my wife and I. And then I retire to practice a ritual that I have performed unfailingly every single day, including weekends, no matter where I am. It is the deepest form of spiritual practice I have ever encountered. My family knows all too well what a sacred time this is for me.
Once I’ve served the breakfast and the coffee, I retire to the bathroom. And there I sit down to take a shit.
I have the most regular bowel movements of anyone I’ve ever met. I’ve never skipped a day. I’m never constipated. The moment I sit, I go on command. There is little resistance within me. Surrender is effortless. Letting go happens in and of itself. It is a profound experience. The experience is one of pure flow.
You think I’m pulling your leg. I’m not.
You see, it doesn’t matter what I’ve consumed the previous night. Whether it’s a decadent five course meal at a Michelin star restaurant or a greasy Big Mac that was slapped together by someone who clearly hates their job. No matter how sublime or devastating the gastronomic experience, my body is trained to process it quickly and just LET IT GO.
As a result, nothing lingers in my system.
There is nothing within me that craves to hold on to the sublime experiences nor to throw up the indigestible ones. My iron stomach processes both the good and the bad, the delicious and the yucky, the ephemeral and the gross in short order and releases it to clear up space for the next flavour of experience whatever that might be.
And so I am open to consuming all sort of things. I don’t restrict myself merely to foods I like. I don’t just dine in restaurants that serve an elevated cuisine. I don’t ingest only foods that are “balanced”, “wholesome” and “healthy” for me. I equally partake in street food or spicy or greasy junk that has little to offer in terms of nutritional value. Yet, my body is so designed as to be able to extract the right amount of nutrient from even these “baser” foods.
Now, if I hadn’t developed such a robust system of digestion, I’d probably end up being very picky about what I ate. I’d try and focus almost exclusively on fine experiences, haute cuisine, healthy foods. I’d have to stay away from the any kind of risky gastronomic venture : too oily, too fatty, too spicy or even too much. I’d have to try and architect a balance in my intake in an effort to ensure a balanced expression in my output the next morning. I’d have to adopt all sorts of diets and regimes, probably have to sign up with some naturopath or food guru to teach me how to en-lighten the load in my large intestine.
Fortunately, that isn’t the case, nowadays.
However, I wasn’t always like this. When I was a child my stomach was extremely sensitive. It was deeply traumatized by the violent levels of oil, fat and spice I was exposed to in the culture I grew up in. As a result I was often dependant on medication for when I just couldn’t keep things in and fibre supplements for when I was holding on too tight.
How I suffered.
Then one day, I reached a crisis point. I had held it in for three whole days. All the pain, the trauma, the toxic waste within me was destroying me from the inside. And I knew. I just knew I couldn’t live like this any longer. I wanted to be done with the medication and the supplements. I no longer wanted to try and find new techniques or follow any experts who claimed they could en-lighten my load for good. I decided that I was simply going to sit with myself on that can and not move until I had let it ALL go.
And so I faced it all. All the shit within me, that had been tormenting my insides, became my sole and only focus. I sat with it for what seemed like an eternity. Even though every instinct within me wanted to get up. Yet I sat. And sat. And sat…
The sound of liberation.
Ever since then, I have never skipped a beat. No matter what, no matter where, no matter when and no matter how I consume an experience, my highest priority above all else is simply to allow it to process through my system with minimal resistance and then to smoothly let it go.
So to sum up that rather long winded response to your very genuine question: is there some ritual I follow that helps me keep my head clear?
Yes. I simply and consistently let shit go.
At the end of the day:
Good, bad – it’s all the same shit.