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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 mouth and, in a round about way, this is a form of compassion for yourself. This turns a lettuce leaf into a loving moment.

Comments

E said…
I've been glad to see your posts again lately. I've been struggling with energy issues myself for the past few months and I often bring to mind your wise words about how to manage.

I also wholeheartedly agree with this post about food. I need (we all need) proper nourishment, body and soul, and treating food as a source of nourishment rather than just fuel makes a big difference to my approach. I don't always choose different food, but it makes a bowl of muesli or a cup of herbal tea into a loving moment for myself, indeed.
Lightfoot said…
Thanks again for your encouraging comments - I'm glad some of the blog is useful. Sorry to hear about your lack of energy - it's not very pleasant and even more difficult when you have responsibilities to care of - seems like modern life doesn't give us an easy pause button.

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Here are the simplest instructions I know for meditation. It's a good place to start:

1. Find somewhere quiet and comfortable.

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3. Your mind will wander off.

4. Cultivate a laissez faire attitude to what is going on. Let things come and go. Return to gently to your object.


Do this for 10-15 minutes to begin with. Observe any relaxation that may occur: your body giving way, the mind calming.

From here, you can begin to investigate what is happening, but this is where you start.

A nice exercise in whole body awareness

It all starts with the body. Your body is your greatest asset.

Take a seat somewhere. Go inside your body and take a relaxing breath. Become aware of your body. Start at the feet and then expand from there. Sense your awareness of the body growing - become aware of the feet and legs; then feet, legs and torso; then feet, legs, torso, arms and hands. Have a sense of energy growing through the body.

Finally, as you breathe, hold your entire body in awareness - feet, legs, torso, arms, hands and head. Feel into a sense of openness and clarity. Notice any blockages in the flow of openness. Then enjoy three or more clear breaths. Nothing outside the present moment, you and your body.

During the day: try it standing up, or in everyday situations. Notice what undermines your attempts to do the practice.

Quick fix: attempt one full body breath before you begin your next task. Do it as often as you can.

How do I fix myself with mindfulness

This appears to be a common pattern. We do our mindfulness course expecting to be transformed, we feel a bit better on the course, a week after the course we find that nothing has changed. There's also the case of people who have been doing meditation for ages and yet they still feel as depressed and angry as they did when they started.

So then, what is going on?

The mind is a tricky beast. It is used to taking action and seeing immediate results. Mindfulness is more subtle than this. It is about seeing the relationship between body, feelings, mind and thoughts and how they come and go. There is no explicit result to be found, just an on going relationship with the thing that is us. However, the longer we observe ourselves the more likely we are to see wisdom arising. That is to say, we begin to see what is beneficial and what is harmful to us. We begin to take responsibility for ourselves and our own happiness - we are no longer simply victims of circumstance. We know what we nee…

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Is that it?
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Why does it come and go?
The mind is a complex instrument that is rapidly switching between different modes of operation (for want of a better phrase). Mindfulness is not a mission critical thi…