“Giving chocolate to others is an intimate form of communication, a sharing of deep, dark secrets.”
Milton Zeiman, publisher of “Chocolate News
” Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn’t you-all of the expectations, all of the beliefs – and becoming who you are.”
The title of this article is a bit tongue in cheek and what I mean by it is, when will becoming our authentic selves become as important as our addictions? Americans are so hooked to materialistic satisfactions that spiritual health and well-being are neglected. In this article I am using chocolate as a metaphor for things we do to excess, because chocolate can be one of those things. How many people can eat just a corner of a chocolate bar? I know I can’t!
Many people don’t think twice about spending 100’s of dollars a month on coffee, cigarettes, snacks, etc. but when it comes to healing and self discovery there is a lot of thought and rationalization about how much it will cost to eat healthy, buy supplements, get a massage, do shamanic healing, a workshop or intuitive reading that might move you higher. How many people do you know who rationalize why they don’t have time to exercise or do a spiritual practice that will support wholeness yet they spend hours in front of the computer or television?
Many people think that if you need to heal there must be something wrong with you. The word implies that and that is why I would rather use the word wellness. For this article I will stick with the word healing because we all know what it means.
I define healing as the path one consciously chooses to achieve wholeness of body, mind and spirit. Healing is remembering who you really are and letting go of those things that are blocking that experience. We are all whole and complete beings who can create wonderous lives, we just don’t realize it. Most people live in a very limited circle of their potential, doing the same things they have done for years because it is comfortable. On the other hand if we live a path of authenticity all possibilities are among the choices we have as we live in the present moment.
Spiritual, emotional and physical balance are key ingredient to living a peaceful fulfilled life in these times of global chaos. If wholeness is so important than why do so many of us hesitate to do what it takes to remember our authentic self. Many stay away from remembering who they really are because the process of getting there can be painful, messy and take time. It doesn’t happen over night! My personal experience of self discovery has including all three of those. I am so compelled to know who I really am that I am willing to walk through the fire but most are not. A lot of people are just waiting for that quick fix.
What does chocolate have to do with healing and wholeness for gosh sake? Chocolate can be equated to the quick fix. Most of us believe that the chocolate bar will satisfy our craving, without giving it a lot of thought. We grab the chocolate bar at the checkout counter even if it’s cheap, bad chocolate. Stores place them there on purpose because they know people will spontaneously grab them. I have. What if we had the same attitude about health and well-being? What if we believed without a shadow of a doubt that we could live healthy lives no matter what our age? Would we give up “chocolate”?
CHOCOLATE AS A METAPHOR
As a metaphor, chocolate can mean nurturing and satisfaction. Both Serotonin and Endorphins are released when we eat chocolate. Eating dark chocolate induces serotonin a neurotransmitter, which communicates a feeling of calm and helps stabilize the mood. Endorphins send high levels of energy and feelings of euphoria to the brain and is a natural pain reliever. When we eat chocolate we feel good! Chocolate raises the level of trytophan which is a associated with pleasure and is suspected of being the chemical mediator of the “falling in love’ feeling, which may explain chocolate’s alleged aphrodisiac qualities. Other chemicals found in chocolate have the ability to mimic the psychoactive effects of marijuana, producing euphoria and heightened sensitivity. Who knew! No wonder is is so addicting!
Our addiction have the same effect on us as chocolate does!
The ecstatic experience of eating something sweet is a metaphor for exploring the deeper mysteries of life. When you bite into a chocolate truffle and you are filled with a feeling of bliss, you want it to last FOREVER! Eventually you have to swallow the chocolate and the sensation fades leaving a longing for your next encounter of happiness.
Don’t get me wrong, I had to stop eating chocolate because the kind of chocolate I reached for was not the dark, unsweetened kind that can have health benefits, it was the kind filled with added fat and sugar. I had to acquire a taste for the good kind because I had gotten use to the bad kind. As you see, chocolate has ingredients in it that is good for you but only if you eat it dark and unsweetened, which is usually not the kind that we are craving and in moderation. We have spent too much time waiting in line at checkout counters where bad chocolate fills the shelves. We have eaten those bars and felt temporarily satisfied. That’s why every time you get to the checkout counter you grab another.
Americans are consuming chocolate at a rate of 3.3 billion pounds per year, which means many of us our craving a feeling of calm and peace and happiness. Take a pound of Godiva chocolate, for example, which cost $85.00 and multiply it by billions of pounds that Americans are consuming and you have a lot of money! I can’t imagine how much is spent on coffee, cigarettes and alcohol to achieve similar experiences. Think of what would happen if we could pass up that candy bar and channel that money into something that could help us on a deeper level and have lasting effects such as our personal evolution.
Chocolate is a symptom of our addictive natures.
The addictive craving for chocolate may be due to the mood-altering power of several of its components, which I mentioned above. Chocolate is just a symptom of our addictive nature.
I heard the late Angeles Arrien PH.D speak at a conference years ago, about conflict resolution across cultures. In her book, The Four Fold Way she identifies four universal addictions. Our individual addictions, be it chocolate, drugs and alcohol, sex, shopping, eating or gambling are actually symptoms of these deeper patterns of addiction that are shared with people around the world.
The four universal addictions she identified are:
1. The addiction to intensity. This shows up when love is lacking. The addiction to intensity is a low tolerance for boredom. If things become too dull or too routine, people addicted to intensity will dramatize, sensationalize, and exaggerate their life experience in order to feel alive.
2. The addiction to perfection. This appears when true excellence is misunderstood and true power is unrealized. The addiction to perfection leaves no room for mistakes. People addicted to perfection struggle to cultivate and maintain their self-image, a façade covering up who they really are. They have little tolerance for the vulnerability of authenticity. People with this addiction think vulnerability is a weakness.
3. The addiction to knowledge. This is the opposite of wisdom. The addiction to knowledge is a compulsive desire to understand and control. People with this addiction don’t like surprises. They need to know the outcome: how things are going to turn out. In other words, they have trust issues. I can relate to this one because “figuring things out” use to give me a feeling of control.
4. The addiction to focusing on what’s not working rather than what is working. What’s missing here is seeing the big picture. This addiction is fueled by the negative bias our brains have. The fourth basic human addiction is focusing on what is not working instead of what is working. The truth is that 99.99% of our life is working. We’ve all experienced illness; even a tiny splinter can be incredibly uncomfortable. Our bodies are continually orchestrating countless processes that would, if they weren’t working perfectly, give us pain and dis-ease. The same is true outside our bodies. Everything in the universe, far beyond our awareness, is holding in place this precious planet and our fragile life. If you think back to any accidents you’ve experienced, you know how easily things can “go wrong.”
Which addiction do you relate too? That is the place to start, if you want to start living an authentic life. Explore how it plays out in your life and start making changes. Try reducing the amount of time you spend in the addiction. It might be difficult to give up your newly discovered addiction so as you get started go out and buy a healthy chocolate bar!