Indian ayurveda and yoga have given tremendous importance to eating — it was called a sacrifice, a havan to the body.
Accept it or not, much of the attraction of a festival depends on the irresistible delicacies you are going to binge on. All the fun and excitement will be gone if you are put on a calorie diet during the festivity. And the real fun of binging is when you don’t have to think about what you are eating, right?
Wrong! Actually you can have real fun when you are eating with awareness. Indian ayurveda and yoga have given tremendous importance to eating — it was called a sacrifice, a havan to the body. Eating is not only done through the mouth, but it is also a deeply sensuous way of relating to a sort of life energy called food. You may not have thought about it but you enjoy food through all your senses. One-fourth of the food is eaten through the eyes, the other one-fourth is enjoyed through the smell, and the remaining is relished through the taste. There is a sort of meditation in tantra which says, “While tasting, the food becomes the taste”. Do not just go on swallowing things. Taste them unhurriedly and become the taste. When you feel sweetness, become that sweetness. And then it can be felt all over the body — not just in the mouth, not just on the tongue — it can be felt all over the body, spreading its ripples!
With no taste, your senses will be deadened. They will become less and less perceptive. And with less sensitivity, you will not be able to feel your body, your feelings. The food reaches every cell, at different levels of your being and creates life. Without sensitivity, you will remain in your head and will be disconnected from your body. Tantra says, do not create any division within yourself. It is beautiful to taste; it is beautiful to be sensitive. And if you are more sensitive you will be more alive, and if you are more alive, then more life will enter your inner being.
So, what you eat is important enough but how you eat it is equally important. Dieticians can give you a very healthy diet but you are the one who is going to absorb it and assimilate it all over the body. It is your body that is going to digest and send it to every cell and build up your sensitivity.
This is why Osho says: I don’t teach you dieting; I teach you only awareness. Eat with full awareness, eat meditatively, and then you will never eat more, and you will never eat less. More is as bad as less. Too much eating is bad, just like too much fasting; these are extremes. Nature wants you to be balanced, to be in a sort of equilibrium, to be in the middle, neither less nor more. Don’t go to the extreme.
To go to the extreme is to be neurotic. There are two types of neurotics about food: those who go on eating, not listening to the body — the body goes on crying and screaming, “Stop!” and they go on eating. These are neurotic people. Then there is the other variety: the body goes on screaming, “I am hungry!” and they are on a fast.
A religious person is one who is balanced: in whatsoever he is doing, he is always in the middle. He never goes to the extreme because all extremes will create tensions, anxieties.