Unraveling Habits with Conscious Eating

As we age, eating becomes an automatic behavior. Our eating habits are controlled by our conscious and unconscious thoughts, feelings and belief systems. As we strive to find inner balance, food serves multiple healthy and unhealthy purposes from marking our social events to quenching our emotions. We like to share eating with our family or friends to strengthen our emotional ties and sense of belonging and we use food to celebrate important life events. Eating has become a social activity that supersedes the desire to eat to live and we eat not just to satiate our hunger but to mask our anxiety.

Why Conscious Eating?

The experience of eating may be tinted with gluttony, guilt, unconsciousness, fears, emotions and intentions that go beyond the act of feeding for survival sake. No wonder food has become such an important part of our life! It is the single most important survival behavior and to preserve it, nature gifted it with pleasure! Our food intake is controlled by our religious or esthetic beliefs, social and cultural habits that often obliterate the survival function of eating. Most sadly, food intake is controlled by economics as value is placed on cheap processed foods that are the primary cause of contemporary chronic illness.

Conscious Eating in our Lifestyle Change Programs

At Hawaii Naturopathic Retreat we practice conscious eating to reestablish a lost connection with the primal function of eating: the pleasure of eating real, unadulterated foods when we are hungry. Conscious eating unveils motivations, feelings, emotions, thoughts and judgments attached to food, opening the door to understanding pathological behaviors. We use conscious eating in the treatment of eating disorders such as bulimia or binge eating or in the re-feeding process of anorexia. We use conscious eating in any condition where eating has been limited by judgments that have negatively impacted the patient’s life. We use conscious eating in food reintroduction following a water or a juice fast, to reeducate the palate and fully experience the essence of each vegetable.

A Guide to Conscious Eating

You will find a place to eat on your own, a table with an ocean view for instance and a comfortable seat. You will feel the subtle pleasure of anticipation of hunger being satiated. You will bless your food, being grateful for the food being served to you and give thanks to the people who have made it happen: farmers who grew the food, bees that pollinated the plants, the water and the soil that nourished the plants, the people who transported the food from the farm to your plate and the people who prepared the food. You will enjoy the colors, shape and the beauty of the presentation and give thanks to the plant that is going to continue to live in you to nourish your body with its vital energy. Then, you will chew one bite at the time consciously, switching many times from the right side to the left side of your mouth, transforming the solid food into a liquid, being aware of the saliva mixing with food and breaking it down. You will feel the taste of the food before swallowing it; enjoying it and being aware of the esophagus and the stomach moving your food to further break it down. You will enjoy the pleasure of eating and become aware that you are satiated when the nutrients extracted from the food signal to your brain that your body received what it needed to support your life.

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho) in vol. 3 of “The Book of Secrets”, containing Discourses on Vigyana Bhairava Tantra on the ancient scripture on Tantra by Lord Shiva (in 5 vols. ) which contain all of 112 meditation techniques known, has this to say on p.19:

The fifth technique.
“When eating or drinking, become the taste of the food or drink, and be filled.”
We go on eating things; we cannot live without them. But we eat them very unconsciously, automatically, robotlike. If the taste is not lived, you are just stuffing. Go slow, and be aware of the taste. And only when you go slow can you be aware. Do not just go on swallowing things. Taste them unhurriedly and become the taste.
When you feel sweetness, become that sweetness. And then it can be felt all over the body – not just in the mouth, not just on the tongue; it can be felt all over the body. ‘A certain sweetness’ is spreading in ripples – or anything else.

“Whatsoever you are eating, feel the taste and become the taste.”
—- Tantra says taste it as much as possible; be more sensitive, alive. And not only be sensitive: become the taste.

“With avoidance of taste, your senses will be deadened.”
They will become less and less sensitive. And with less sensitivity, you will not be able to feel your body, you will not be able to feel your feelings. Then you will just remain centered in the head. This centeredness in the head is the split. Tantra says do not create any division within yourself. It is beautiful to taste; it is beautiful to be sensitive. And if you are more sensitive you will be more alive, and if you are more alive, then more life will enter your inner being. You will be more open.

“You can eat things without tasting; you can touch someone without touching; it is not difficult.”

“When eating or drinking, become the taste of the food or drink, and be filled by the taste;”
When drinking water, feel the coolness. Close your eyes, drink it slowly, taste it. Feel that you have become that coolness; it is becoming a part of your body. Allow its ripples to spread, and you will feel a coolness all over your body.

In this way your sensitivity can grow, and you can become more alive and more filled.
We are feeling frustrated, vacant – empty, and we go on talking that life is empty. But we are the reason. We are not filling it and we are not allowing anything to fill it.

We have an armour around us – a defense armour, We are afraid to be vulnerable, so we go on defending against everything. And then we become tombs – dead things.

“Tantra says be alive, more alive, because life is God. There is no other God than life. Be more alive, and you will be more Divine. Be totally alive, and there is no death for you (p. 392). “

Change Your Life With Conscious Eating

Attentive eating, mindful eating, conscious eating, eating with awareness… can this simple habit radically change your life? What we eat is important, but how we eat it is often overlooked. Even if you are following a healthy diet, you still may not be eating consciously. What Is Conscious Eating? Conscious eating is about being completely […]

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