Hey all – James here,
Do you find it hard to change your eating habits to healthier ones? Instead finding you slip back into old habits?
What then follows is you may beat yourself up by going into self blame and shame about how you aren’t strong enough to change.
First of all – stop the beating yourself up. If we cannot develop love and compassion towards ourselves how can we develop it towards others.
We all tend to have a deeper ‘knowing’ about things that may be better for the body and mind:
– eating less processed shit and more wholesome and natural foods
– exercising more
– meditating more
– honoring our relationships with others more
But often something get’s in the way.
It seems to go something like this:
1) Commitment is made to change something
2) Change is tried on for size for a little while
3) Changes begin to have positive effects + at the same time the mind begins to freak out and go into fear of loss
4) The mind comes up with excuses\justifications about how this new habit is ‘bad for me’
5) Change is abandoned.
I’ve come to realise how important a role the mind plays in everything.
The mind loves to cling to stories, ideas, beliefs, habits – even if they are holding us back from feeling more free and at peace.
And of course – every now and again – the mind also loves to break stuff (create drama\problems) – so that it can then be the hero and fix them.
So what can you do about it?
Work on the mind (meditation).
Many preach the benefits of working on the body (exercise, eating) – what about working on the mind as well?
A teacher will often share with me the comparison of the mind to a garden.
In it’s untrained form it is full of weeds with deep roots (attachments) – and these lead to suffering.
The goal is to beauty the mind.
The method to uproot these weeds that cause suffering is insight meditation.
How to meditate?
Find a place you will not be interrupted and set a timer.
Begin with 5 minutes each morning or night, and step it up gradually over time.
Sit with legs crossed and back upright – place your hands wherever you feel comfortable.
Close your eyes.
Focus your attention on the abdomen – specifically the rise and fall of the chest.
Allow the breath to be as it is – let go of the desire to control it.
As the abdomen rises with the in breath make a mental note ‘rising rising’.
As the abdomen falls with the out breath make a mental note ‘falling falling’.
If you notice a sound, let go of what that sound is and label it as ‘hearing hearing’ and then come back to the ‘rising’ and ‘falling’ of the abdomen.
If you notice a sight, taste, smell, or feeling, let go of the content (it may be a foul tasting smell or a painful feeling somewhere on the body) and instead label it as ‘seeing seeing’, or ‘tasting tasting’ or ‘smelling smelling’ or ‘feeling feeling’ and come back to the ‘rising’ and ‘falling’ of the chest.
If the mind wanders (as it does) and goes into the content of a thought – as soon as you become aware you have drifted off – label the thought as ‘thinking thinking’ and return to the ‘rising’ and ‘falling’ of the abdomen.
What you will notice over time?
The mind will become sharper and more focused,
It will also become less attached to the stories, thoughts, beliefs, and habits we cling onto as they arise in everyday life.
The grip will loosen – becoming less and less – making it much easier to bring about the changes you want to make in life.
Wishing you a wonderful week,