Dr. Pankaj Vij
Internist & Author of Turbo Metabolism
I am often fascinated by how science, medicine, spiritual traditions, and psychology overlap and how often different disciplines describe the same basic aspects of human existence in different ways. For example, the chakra system of energy flow connects to our basic and higher needs and to turbo metabolism. Humans have unique needs through the various stages of life. When babies are born, their primary need is to breathe air. Soon after birth, the drives of hunger and thirst kick in. The most primal and basic needs of all humans are for clean air, safety and security, food and water. We have powerful drives and are strongly programmed to satisfy these needs first and foremost. Once we get beyond infancy and childhood, our need for belonging and acceptance becomes more prominent. Over time, we seek opportunities for connection and collaboration by building friendships and relationships with other people. As we approach the teenage years, these needs for belonging evolve into seeking intimacy and love. As young adults, we seek approval and recognition from our peers to boost our sense of confidence and self-esteem. Once these needs are met, we seek selfactualization, and we strive to achieve our own unique potential. Thus, the needs for food, water, and shelter, followed by our biological urge for procreation in order to preserve the species are the most powerful primordial needs – as they should be. The chakra system of energy flow through the human body was first documented 8,000 years ago, and, not surprisingly, it reinforces what I’ve just described as the progression of human needs. The chakra system describes the more basic needs represented in the lower chakras, sometimes called the “foundational” chakras, that correspond with the lower half of the body and to the needs that manifest as hunger, thirst, and elimination. Next are chakras corresponding to sexual energy, the pursuit of worldly desires for a sense of gratification, up into the higher chakras which house intellectual awareness, spirituality, intuition, and ultimately freedom, liberation, or Nirvana.
"With self-compassion, mindful awareness, and a free flow of energy, we naturally work in balance and harmony to attend to our most pertinent needs."
Turbo metabolism is achieved when we balance our energies and needs. With self-compassion, mindful awareness, and a free flow of energy, we naturally work in balance and harmony to attend to our most pertinent needs. All too often, however, we end up “looking for love in all the wrong places,” as a popular song suggests, and we misinterpret signals, trying to quench the desire of a higher need with food or drink. Impaired metabolism often results from a lack of energy flow where energy is not delivered to our bodies properly. Sometimes, low energy flow can be the result of these poor lifestyle choices we make when we misinterpret our real needs. For example, we may misinterpret the need for connection, approval, and recognition as hunger. Or we might misinterpret our need for growth, learning, or spiritual liberation as thirst or lustful sexual energy. We then end up making choices which might satisfy an urge or craving but end up being unhealthy in the long run. Thus, turbo metabolism, or optimal energy flow, requires attention to and awareness of our current and most pertinent needs. That awareness allows us to achieve our highest potential. Gaining turbo metabolism is about understanding that food provides energy, not entertainment, comfort, or therapy. Those needs (entertainment, comfort, therapy) must be met from other sources. Once we understand the profound connection between our mind, body, and spirit, we make better choices, and we begin to acknowledge the intercon - nectedness of all living and nonliving things. Above all, gaining turbo metabolism is about radical self-compassion, self-awareness, and attention to the present moment.
Pankaj Vij, MD, FACP, is the author of Turbo Metabolism. As a doctor of internal medicine, he has helped thousands of patients lose weight, manage chronic health conditions, and improve their physical fitness.