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Editor’s note: This is Article 15 in the Meridian series, “The Half-Diet” wherein Richard Eyre lays out the basics of the most simple and logical method of losing weight and keeping it off. New installments in the series run every Wednesday. Most of the concepts are taken from Richard’s latest book THE HALF DIET DIET. Meridian readers who comment on all articles in this series will be put into a drawing for free copies of the book when the series concludes. Readers may still comment on articles 1 through 14.
When I am asked to speak on the Half Diet or on Controlling Appetites, I often use my hand’s five fingers as the symbol of our five facets or the five dimensions of our physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual selves. This allows me to point out that, ideally, the spiritual dimension is the thumb—the one that can work with each of the others, the one that can make the others functional and effective, the one that we want to be in charge and in control of the other four. Turning my hand upside down, I try to illustrate by holding the thumb above and in charge of the other four.
Your own hand can become a reminder that your physical, mental, social, and emotional selves can be thought of as the servant fingers, directed and controlled by the spiritual thumb which is different in kind from the fingers because its movement can be directed and inspired by a higher force.
Developing and honing that spiritual direction gives you the ultimate control of your negative and potentially harmful physical, social, emotional and mental appetites. Keep the thumb and fingers metaphor in mind as we shift paradigms in this concluding article in this Meridian Half Diet series.
The metaphor for the half diet is the horse, representing appetites which need not to be killed but bridled. But the Spiritual aspect of the diet is more than a better bridle; it is a shift of horses. And the Spiritual horse, you see, does not need a bridle at all. It is a horse you can trust, a horse that knows the way Home. It is a horse that was sent to you, and that if well-ridden can transform its rider to resemble its Sender.
There is always some risk in writing in a spiritual paradigm. The risk is someone saying, “Why do you assume that everyone is a believer? Is religious or spiritual faith a prerequisite for embracing this diet?” Well, it is a risk I’m willing to take, because the Half Diet does not reach its full meaning or affect without the spiritual dimension—and I am also somewhat emboldened by the public opinion poll numbers that reveal that more than ninety percent of Americans profess a belief in God.
In the physical diet, the key is eating half. In the Spiritual aspect of the diet, the key is focusing on God’s Will — “Choosing His Half”
Although the terminology of it may sound a little unfamiliar, the basic spiritual appetite is to discover and to do God’s will. There is a spirit in each of us that is drawn toward Home and toward light. Yet that spirit is encased in a mortal body that, according to God’s plan, is filled with physical and mental/emotional appetites that, if unbridled, pull us in other directions. Thus our mortality is subject to the tugs and forces of the opposing, dark side.
Bridling these mortal appetites and pulling them into control can fill us with strengthening love that enables us to catch up to and ultimately to swing across and mount instead the spiritual horse. Doing this is both the test and the glorifying challenge of life on this earth.
Mortality is essentially a binary situation that offers, ultimately, only two basic choices: Light or darkness. Each choice moves us either toward Him or away from Him.
Everything that entices us to good is from Him. Everything that leads us away is not. The spiritual Half Diet takes on new meaning as we focus on choosing the Right Half—the True Half—The Light Half.
This is a huge paradigm shift. In the Physical and Mental diet, the challenge was to control our urges and our appetites. In the Spiritual diet, the challenge is to give control to Him. In the ultimate spiritual reality, since God owns all, the only thing we have to give to Him is our agency. When we truly and fully do that, when we have relinquished all control—we no longer need the bridle, because we have climbed on a very different kind of horse which, unbridled, takes us away in His directions.
The physical and mental horses still live in our pasture, and we must ride them too because they are in our charge and we love them and we appreciate what they can do for us. As we ride them always with a bridle, and always in control, we are filled with more and more love and over time they become better and more manageable horses because they are ridden well and because they share the same pasture with the Spiritual horse, which can influence them.
It is hard to know the right name for this total paradigm shift onto the third horse. Submission? Consecration? Elevation? Whatever it is, it changes everything. We move directly away from self-determination and control—the very things the whole world seems to be seeking. To illustrate the drama of this shift, compare the oft-quoted poem “Invictus” with a spiritual rebuttal “mirror poem” written by Orson Whitney.
Invictus by William E. Henley
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance,
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
The Soul’s Captain [The Answer] by Orson F. Whitney
Art thou in truth? Then what of Him
Who bought thee with His blood?
Who plunged into devouring seas
And snatched thee from the flood?
Who bore for all our fallen race
What none but Him could bear.
The God who died that man might live,
And endless glory share?
Of what avail thy vaunted strength,
Apart from His vast might?
Pray that his Light may pierce the gloom,
That thou mayest see aright.
Men are as bubbles on the wave,
As leaves upon the tree.
Thou, captain of thy soul, forsooth
Who gave that place to thee?
Free will is thine–free agency
To wield for right or wrong;
But thou must answer unto him
To whom all souls belong.
Bend to the dust that head “unbowed,”
Small part of Life’s great whole!
And see in Him, and Him alone,
The Captain of thy soul.
There is great folly in believing we are the captains or the masters of our destiny. So much of life and its circumstances are so far beyond our control. We are dependent on God and interdependent on each other in so many ways. And in the Christian perspective, we have been bought and purchased—ransomed—by He who has all control, and in this we should find our greatest rejoicing.
And what errors we would make if we were really in charge—mistakes that might rob us of the very things we were sent here to gain.
The Half Diet, in its spiritual phase, becomes the choose-half diet. We choose His half, we choose the Light. What we give away is the dark half, the natural man, the world. And we give to Him the only thing we really have, the only thing we can ever claim to own, our agency!
And thus concludes this Meridian overview of the Half Diet Diet. Thanks for reading and following. For further details, please see the book itself. Also remember that any Meridian reader who comments on all 15 articles in this series will be put into a drawing for free copies of the book. You can see and comment on earlier articles in the series by clicking here.