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Showing posts from August, 2012

Eat less, eat better

There is not much that we have control of in our lives and you can probably boil it down to things:

1. What we put into our minds
2. What we put into our mouths

Eating is a complex business. It is mixed up with pleasure, satisfaction, avoidance behaviours, craving, habits, subconscious urges and so on. Perhaps we are not so far removed from Pavlovian dogs as we might think.

Anyway, enough rambling. There is a lot of evidence to suggest that eating less is good for you (I'm assuming that, like me, it is easy to eat too much) - you feel more energised, your body works better, you reach a healthy weight, you eat less fatty high energy food and so on. You might like to read out about intermittent fasting - it seems to produce interesting results.

One benefit of eating less is that you can pick out more interesting food to eat since you won't be needing a 12oz steak every week. This is when a diet can become interesting - you take care of what food you'll be putting into your m…

Relax the mind

The body and mind are like two strands of DNA entwined together in a mysterious contracting and expanding dance with reality. Relax the body and we relax the mind. Relax the mind and we relax the body. So it seems like a simple exercise to relax the mind - we do nice things to the body (massage, gentle exercise, listen to music, yoga) and our mind will naturally relax. However, after we have been doing this for a while we might notice that it gets us only so far and that there are deeper states of relaxation that we might cultivate if we knew how. We might also sense that 'we' are preventing ourselves from letting go further because 'we' might disappear. Luckily this is not the case.

So, we are relaxed but our mind is not totally at ease. There are two ways to take it a bit further. We can either:

- focus our mind on something neutral and use the magical ability of the mind to become whatever it focuses on. If it pays attention to something soothing then it becomes soo…

Don't breathe out, just let it go

Breathing is one of those things that we do every day, but around which a surprisingly large amount of things happen. This is an area of great interest to meditators as we get to unpick our glossy perceptions of how breathing works. We might think that we are sucking air in by somehow gathering the air molecules in through our noses and mouths by force of will, but, in reality, our internal muscles pull down our diaphragm creating a vacuum into which our lungs expand - drawing air in as it does so. You might find this is at odds with how you think breathing works - an interesting place to start your investigations. Breathing out is simply the relaxation of the muscles allowing the diaphragm to push the against the lungs and squishing the air out again.

Once we accept this view of breathing (the contraction and relaxation of muscles) then we can get a good deal of bonus relaxation on the out breath. There's no need to push it out, we can simply let our muscles relax and allow it ou…