Why ginger, garlic and onion abstinence in Taiwan religious groups
April 29, 2016
I was pondering as to why most religious and well-being cultures in Taiwan propose to abstain from eating foods such as ginger, garlic and onion, as they are thought to create desire, which needs to be avoided.
Ginger, garlic and onion are extremely healthy foods, in fact they are considered super foods for their health properties. Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, it heals the digestive system and it regulates blood pressure among its benefits.. Garlic has anti-septic properties, it has detoxifying properties and contains strong antioxidants and is high in nutritional value. Onions have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and help the immune system, among other things. It struck me that besides avoiding these very healthy foods, vegan religious groups in Taiwan often advocate the inclusion of rather unhealthy foods, such as white and processed flours, white rice and even processed sugars and oils. Moreover they encourage little if any consumption of raw fruits and vegetables, another group of potently healthy foods and, in addition they encourages the consumption of alcohol - an addictive drug - in small quantities in the form of whine. Why would so self-proclaimed health and well being oriented groups encourage the consumption of some unhealthy foods and discourage the consumption of very healthy foods? I believe the answer is in the motivation that they give to explain this choice.
Healthy foods help us align our body, mind and spirit to our higher self, or source, due to their very high frequencies. The more we consume these foods, the more our mind, body and soul become aligned with our higher self. Source, or the higher self, however pushes towards expansion, as knowing itself is its ultimate aim. In order to expand, source communicates to our human form through feelings, emotions, needs and desires. By aligning with source, and thus allowing our feelings, emotions, needs and desires, we essentially allow source to move us in the direction of expansion. So why is this seen as bad in some cultures? I think there are two main reasons.
Firstly, by allowing us to feel, need, desire, we allow not only positive emotions, but also negative ones, and in particular pain. Pain and negative feelings are an integral and necessary part of expansion, so they are unavoidable. According to the ying-yang philosophy we can't have positive experiences without their negative counterpart: in order to know what we want we have to know what we don't want, so pain and negative feelings are as an important and crucial part of expansion as positive feelings: they tell us what to move away from, as opposed to what to move towards. A lot of people however confuse pain with suffering, and thus are afraid of pain. When people fear pain, they try to avoid it, or in other words, they resist it. However, as with all things, the more we resist something the more it persists: when we limit ourselves through fear, as with all self-fulfilling prophecies, we attract exactly what we try to avoid, for when we try to avoid something we place energy to focus on it, and in a universe that obeys the laws of attraction, this means we attract it. Thus in our efforts to resist pain, we create more pain, in other words we create artificial pain, i.e. suffering. Suffering is completely avoidable. If we allow pain instead of resisting it, we can let it give us its precious message about where we need to move, and move in that direction, to stop feeling pain. This natural, unavoidable pain is temporary, and is always manageable, suffering on the other hand is not.
The second reason why I think people are afraid of expansion is that it involves movement, it is dynamic, and people are afraid of change. People fear change due to their attachments: they are afraid to lose connection and to lose what they are attached to. What we need to understand though is that attachments are a substitute to what is wanted or desired, it is not what is wanted or desired, and in fact they prevent us from reaching what we want or desire. To show what I mean, I give an example: imagine a person who has a feeling of unsafety repressed within their subconscious, due to previous trauma that made them feel very unsafe. This suppressed feeling acts as a point of attraction in their life, so they often find themselves in situations where they feel unsafe. However, instead of letting the pain of the unsafe feeling guide them to resolve the trauma and feel safe within themselves, they instead find a person who makes them feel safe, and they cling to that person as an external substitute for their internal disintegrated part. Only, since they never truly integrated their internal feeling of unsafety, they have a hole inside where their need to feel safe is never filled, and they constantly need this person, thus they develop an attachment to it. For such a person, moving away from this person might seem like a loss, and thus painful. What this person does not understand is that the suffering they feel is caused by the unmet unsafety repressed need inside them, not by the absence of the person. They don't realize that they don't need this external attachment to feel safe, in fact they are using the attachment to prevent themselves to heal to a point where they feel safe.
For these reasons I think people avoid expansion. They do that in many ways: partly by trying to numb their feelings, desires, needs, etcetera, via creating a distance to their true-self, or source, i.e. for instance using unhealthy foods, drugs, and distractions. Also sometimes people even use tools from spiritual practices to achieve this: they may use meditation or mantras continuously in order to force themselves to feel satisfied in the present, and to repress their unmet needs and desires. These remedies however cannot work in the long term, as it is impossible to unwant what is wanted, or to not need what is needed, or to not desire what is desires, after all we are human begins, not machines. What will happen in the long therm is that these people will either live in a constant state of resistance - thus suffering - which takes a great deal of energy from them, or more often than not, they will go about meeting their needs and desires subconsciously - i.e. through manipulation.
My point is that it is not possible to not expand: expansion is source's primary goal, weather we chose to label it as bad or good the universe does not really care. It will find ways to constantly push us in a direction of expansion even if we resist it. A state of allowing is thus more in alignment with source, as it will let the universe guide us through the movements of our higher self as it expands.