Consider the ancient philosophical concept of the “highest good.” Every moment of every day we must make innumerable choices about what we are going to think, say, or do in every area of our lives. Our lives are streams of moments of chosen experience. Each time we make a choice based on our “highest good” rather than “right” or “wrong” or what is considered socially acceptable, we take a giant leap forward! Sometimes, however, making the highest choice is not easy.
Take the Thanksgiving meal. If you are like me—committed to eating cleanly prepared, light-filled foods—you will probably pass on many of the holiday dishes. (Some leniency may serve your highest good, but that is for you to determine.) Whether you have just begun to practice simple food combinations or you choose to eat salad instead of the traditional feast, you will probably wind up ruffling some feathers at the dinner table.
Whether it’s your grandmother who is insulted that you are not eating her famous stuffing, a friend who is adamant that you are not getting enough protein, or a sister who preferred when you were fat because it made her feel more powerful, you will have your own unique dramas to overcome. I’ve been there many times, as have my clients and readers.
Now, some of you may be tempted to eat like everyone else at the table on Thanksgiving, simply to avoid conflict. You would rather suffer a setback, feel a bit ill, and compromise on what you hold true to make everyone else comfortable. Don’t try to convince yourself that such a choice is selfless and good. To the contrary, it is a case of failing to honor life—yours, your community’s, and the laws of nature. The choice of conformity slows the growth of mankind.
Holiday meals can actually be a superb opportunity for personal growth, if you approach them with confidence and self-sovereignty.
Let’s say that on this Thanksgiving you do choose for your highest good: you eat what looks cleanly prepared and easy to digest, make yourself a plate of greens to go with it, and stop eating when you’re satiated. Now, it’s unlikely that anyone will be bothered by this, but if there is pushback from the crowd, you will find yourself in a position to clearly state your boundaries and interests. Take this opportunity to stand your ground and speak up for what is life-generating in the human body—in a gentle, compassionate, but firm way.
Your defense may well scare your detractors to the core, because it will call into doubt their own choices, but they will benefit nonetheless. When you speak up for your highest good, you shine a bright light into the darkness, and darkness does not like to be disturbed. Do not take any unpleasant reactions as a personal attack. The best way to establish your boundaries is to allow the skeptics the space to be rattled as you proceed calmly with your choice.
Your agenda is not to convert anyone, but to live as you like without conflict, to feel safe choosing the highest good rather than following “the tribe.” When you live your truth, some people around you will be deeply attracted to it while others will find it highly annoying. So what are you going to do, goose-step around everyone based on how they are likely to receive you? There is a word for always trying to please others: bondage. If you stay true to your highest good, you will realize you are free, even in the face of peer pressure. Now that’s called liberation!
In the same way that we should not attempt to convert others (everyone awakens in their own time), we should not bend our truth to make others comfortable. Once you have established your space confidently and lovingly, people will be drawn to your wisdom and yearn to understand why you have chosen to live and eat in more light-filled ways. This is how your own highest good can gradually serve the highest good of society, which is where things really get exciting!
Most people are feeling very trapped in the old ways of doing things. Traditional holiday foods and gatherings could use a good dose of light—and if you don’t bring it, who will? Go out there and be courageous. Who knows, you might just help lift your fellow man out of despair and usher in a whole new holiday of thanks!