Sudden enlightenment can bring on a host of Siddhis you may have heard nothing about. I suddenly became an inedic, which some people refer to as Breatharian, or living on light or prana.
Some people work very hard to achieve this state, but if, like me, you haven’t, then it can be quite unsettling, not to mention socially awkward. If you experience sudden enlightenment, you may be very unprepared.
People often covet the profound shift of consciousness, but it’s not always easy to go through such changes, is it?
When it happened to me I spent a lot of time online. I did find some useful information, but sadly the majority of it seemed to be a little crackpot and suspect. For instance, I went through an intense period of around two years when I could not eat during certain hours. I ate once a day, and if I tried to deviate from that, I would get violently sick. My body would just reject the food immediately and without prejudice. I once tried to sneak a pear, which very quickly was renamed The Punishing Pear due to the dramatic effects that shortly followed. At dinner time I would suddenly be gripped with the overwhelming desire to take a brisk walk, and I realized that this was my way of getting myself to be outside and breathe deeply. I was completely nourished by the breathing, but it had to be fresh outside air and it had to be after the sunset. Don’t ask me why! But that was what worked. So rain or shine, I went out after the sun completely set and took my brisk walk, to eat the air, as it were.
The more I did this the less I wanted to eat. I did not waste away nor lose any energy. In fact, the less I ate, the more energy I had. I had the distinct feeling that my digestive organs, relieved of the constant need to process dense material, were actually shifting into a different kind of processing. It was as though the organs have two functions, depending on the circumstances and whether or not the second functions get triggered. I have been hypoglycemic all my life, and suddenly it was gone. I had my one meal at midday and was perfectly fine.
When I tried to find some answers online, I came across the dubious Breatharian movement, but people have died attempting this. I was hoping to find accounts of people to whom this just happened, unbidden, rather than people who are trying to achieve this state. I found some saints and yogis, most of them long dead, who supposedly lived without eating food. It was not very helpful.
As time went on I felt less of a need to eat anything. I considered giving up my midday meal out of curiosity. A friend of mine who was living at a Tibetan monastery in India told the abbot about my situation. The abbot was shocked that a westerner was experiencing this and asked many questions about my spiritual practice. When he learned that this was spontaneous and that I had no practice, he was amazed. Apparently there are very high level Tibetan meditators who strive to achieve this state, and some do reach it after much effort. But he informed me that if I stopped eating for a long time, as a way of life rather than a fast period, I would no longer be able to eat again. He said the meditators get around this by administering oily enemas from time to time.
Well, needless to say, I kept eating. The oily enemas really didn’t appeal! I can’t be the only person who has had this experience spontaneously. The abbot said the meditators that worked to achieve this state did so because, by not needing to digest food, they could reach much deeper states of meditation. It sounds odd. The Buddha nearly starved himself to death and that was not what awakened him. But there are no rules, no formulas. It’s facile to think: if the Buddha fasted and nearly starved, then how can other meditators stop eating and simply shift into a different state of physical maintenance? There is nothing concrete here.
On a completely mundane note, it was very hard on my social life. Until then I was constantly entertaining at my house. I loved to cook and had dinner parties or Sunday brunch every week. People stopped inviting me out, which is understandable because I don’t eat at night. My closest friends would sometimes meet me at a place where it would be acceptable for me to just have tea, which was very considerate, but there are few places like that.
But it upset most people, more than I could understand. They seemed really offended by my not eating. Of all the strange things that were happening, I would not have expected becoming inedic to be on the top 5 list of things that upset other people. But there you go, you never know how any of this will play out.
I really wished I could eat and continue to enjoy my social life, but it was not a choice at that point. I didn’t know where things were going then, and everything was moving so quickly and dramatically at that time. This went on for two or three years.
Now I am perfectly fine with it. I can eat at night if the situation calls for it, but I prefer not to. And I’m more comfortable just saying I don’t eat at night, and letting people react however they need to. Some people don’t care, some find it curious and some people seem to be offended by it.
image: taken in my Bordeaux kitchen