Posts Tagged mindfulness and eating

Benediction for the Present Moment

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The concept of mindfulness is simple but not easy. Little children and dogs are uninhibitedly mindful. Their experiences are single-minded and pure because they intimately engage in every moment as it arrives, as it is experienced and as it ends.

As adults, we are too often caught up in our own thoughts and inner dialogues as the moments of our lives pass by in a noisy blur. Mindfulness brings a different kind of energy to our experiences. We remain intrinsically curious about how our lives unfold from one moment to the next.

A little bit of mindfulness goes a long way. We can deal more effectively with our personal issues and disappointments so they don’t take over.  A deliberately mindful orientation does not ignore all distracting thoughts and feelings. Instead, it acknowledges them and moves on to what immediately follows. Mindfulness keeps us deliberately connected to the continual source of human nourishment: What is happening right now, in this moment.

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way; on purpose, in the present moment and nonjudgmentally.”     John Kabot-Zinn

Being aware of our hunger is not the same as being mindful about our hunger. Being aware that we are eating is not the same thing as eating mindfully. We can be aware of hunger without an inkling of the character of our hunger and how it feels. We can know that we’re eating, but if at the same time we are watching TV, cooking, reading or talking on the phone, we remain clueless about how we are responding to the qualities of our food.

If there is conflict and emotional stress involved in our relationship with food, we tend to focus most on negative and self-defeating thought patterns and not on what is happening in the very moment. We are left with only a dim awareness (and sometimes not even that) of our actual experience of eating. We deprive ourselves of a huge and joyful part of our lives.