Food, Diet, Meditation by Marcus Antebi
A person completely consumed by an addiction might find it difficult to consider meditation to be the first step to self-control and getting on the right path. But one of the tendencies of those with personalities prone to addiction is obsessive thinking. Some aren’t even aware that they’re prone to it because they’ve been doing it for so long that they’ve become desensitized.
Practicing meditation while in the process of obsessive and/or restless thinking is twice as hard as meditating when our minds are still.
One of the methods that the ancient yogis used to help their students was requiring them to do a lot of vigorous exercise before meditating. The students would then be required to mediate, and their restless minds would be somewhat calmer.
It’s not easy to sit still, be quiet, and stop the mind from wandering all over the place. Most of us are so unfamiliar with having a settled mind that we’re not even sure what we’re trying to achieve because we’ve never experienced it. This is a big barrier, especially for those who are by nature deep thinkers.
People who do not believe in spiritual life or religious practices have a somewhat different barrier. They may perceive meditation to be solely a spiritual training practice. That may be the case for some, but certainly not for all. Many see meditation as solely an intellectual practice, as quieting the mind in order to unfold different layers of thought processes. The next step would then be to release memories and difficult feelings and subsequently deal with them on an intellectual level, with the ultimate goal of facilitating healing.
Many ancient people understood the nature of reality as being spiritual by definition. Regarding every activity in life as being a spiritual practice, they did not see a need to define things as being either ‘spiritual’ or ‘unspiritual,’ as many do today.
Yet getting rid of the dichotomy between ‘spiritual’ and ‘unspiritual’ doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as good and evil. Harming others is antithetical to life. I make a judgment about that, as do all people who recognize bad behavior and harmful practices. But I do intend to judge less and judge correctly as I go through life, and I want to use judgment only as a method of understanding the world around me more clearly.
I judge being healthy as being good and I judge pain as not being good. I program myself to avoid the bad and move towards the good. So I act on that judgment by pursuing a healthy lifestyle (good) and avoiding pain (not good) when I make decisions about what I eat and what I avoid eating.
It might be of benefit to you to start your practices of meditation with the intent of getting a better grasp of your diet and your eating habits. I highly recommend beginning meditation practice by spending 5 to 10 minutes minimum every day just lying on your back. Your meditation techniques can evolve from that point. Continue by practicing and learning how to hold the period of meditation longer. Bring that same effort into everything you do. When you’re riding your bicycle, say a blessing to yourself and consider it part of your spiritual practice, and try to remain mindful and present. Observe where your mind goes when you’re doing the tasks of folding your laundry or preparing your meal.
If preparing your meal entails opening lots of packages from a delivery, be mindful of that and stay present for that. Try to make that experience personal. Find a comfortable place to eat, maybe even light a candle. I recommend that when you eat food that you separate yourself from stressful stimulation.
In fact, I recommend separating yourself from stimulation of any kind. Turn off the TV, close the book, and put down your phone. If you struggle with too much silence, you might instead play very peaceful music with positive lyrics while you eat. If you prefer to have the TV on, try to find a program or app that will show peaceful scenes of waterfalls, forests and oceans.
Having peaceful, relaxing meal times should become a high priority as you progress on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.