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Mindfulness...To Consume or Not to Consume?

February 9, 2017

In a world where we are brainwashed to always want more, we need to learn when...


On a very basic level, we know that over consumption of what we eat or drink is harmful, despite the label of it “being good for us” anything in large amounts can become toxic. However, with an untrained mind, we are driven to consume more than we need most of the time.


Cravings often arise out of fear...


There was a time in my life where I had an unhealthy attachment to with drinking water, yes water, and unknowingly for many years I was driven by the fear of not having enough water, so I drank copious amounts, despite the needs of my body.


I became enlightened by this insight during my first silent meditation course. Before every sit, in fear that I would become dehydrated I would mindlessly chug almost a litre of water, only to be left with the loud sounds of my stomach gurgling for the entire meditation, and the frustration of hearing it.


During a particular meditation, as my stomach grew louder along, and frustration intensified, when all of a sudden it hit me! These sounds were my body trying to tell me something, these sounds were my body telling me I had enough! After the sit, I asked the teacher about the difference between wholesome and unwholesome desires and this is what she said;


"Desires become unwholesome when the stability of the mind is lost when the desire can’t be fulfilled.”


I immediately thought of my need for water, and how my mind felt when I thought I didn’t have enough, despite my body telling me it had. This was a profound insight for me, not only because it changed my relationship with water, but shone light on the many other ways in which desire and fear were impacting my health, life and the world.



It is way too easy for us to mistake a craving for a need, especially when it comes to what we consume.


Most of us have developed poor habits of not listening to what our body needs, especially in regards to food or drink that we no longer are able to accurately read the cues it sends us, not to mention allow for our habit driven mind to make every decision, whether it be in our best interest or not. When attentive, we can see the interplay between what our body needs and what our minds want, providing us the wisdom to make wholesome choices that can greatly impact our well-being, and ultimately the well-being of the planet.


Invitation to Practice… Take a moment and notice right now if there is anything you are desiring in regards to food or drink. Is it a mental/emotional desire or a physical need? Try tuning into your body while dropping the story of what you want, and turning towards the physical sensations that are present. What do you notice? Is hunger or thirst really there? If you can imagine consuming what it is you want, how does your body react? Do you notice feeling tones pleasant, unpleasant or neutral? What ones are the most dominant? How does this information change your level of desire? If you stay directly connected to the needs of your body, what is it telling you? To consume or not to consume?




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