The Benefits of Mindful Eating

mindful eating meditation, exercise, tips

Mindful Eating Is a State of Awareness

“So the first thing is that every person should be very aware and conscious about his eating. And I am saying this, especially for the meditator. It is necessary for a meditator to remain aware of what he eats, how much he eats and what its effects are on his body. If you experiment for a few months with awareness, you will certainly find out which is the right food for you, which food gives you tranquility, peace and health. There are no real difficulties, but because you do not pay any attention to your food you are never able to discover the right food.

The second thing about food is that the state of your mind when you eat is much more important than what you eat.

“Food will affect you differently if you eat joyously, happily, or if you eat when you are filled with sadness and worry.

“If you are eating in a worried state, then even the best food will have a poisonous effect. And if you are eating with joy, then it is possible that sometimes even poison may not be able to have its total effect on you – it is very possible. So the state of mind you are in when you eat is important….

“Then what about your situation? You live in worry for twenty-four hours a day. It is a miracle how the food you eat is digested, how existence manages it in spite of you! You have no wish to digest it. It is an absolute a miracle how it is digested. And how you remain alive is also a miracle!

Your state of mind should be graceful and blissful.

“But in your houses the dining table is in the most gloomy state. The wife waits the whole day for her husband to come home to eat and all the emotional sickness she has gathered in the last twenty-four hours comes out just when the husband is eating. She does not know that she is doing the work of an enemy. She does not know that she is serving poison on her husband’s plate.

“The husband is also afraid and worried after the whole day’s work — he somehow dumps the food into his stomach and leaves. He has no idea that this act which he has finished so quickly and has run away from should have been a prayerful one. It was not an act which should have been done in a hurry. It should have been done in the same way as someone entering a temple, or as someone kneeling to pray, or as someone sitting to play his veena, or as someone singing a song for the beloved. This act is even more important: he is giving food to his body. It should be done in a state of tremendous blissfulness; it should be a loving and prayerful act.

The more happily and joyously and the more relaxed and without worry a person can be when eating, the more his food will start becoming the right food.

Mindful Eating

“A violent diet does not mean only that a man eats non-vegetarian food: it is also a violent diet when a man eats with anger. Both of these things are violent. While eating in anger, in suffering, in worry, man is also eating violently. He does not realize at all that just as he is violent when eating the flesh of something, so is it when his own flesh burns up inside because of anger and worry; then violence is present there too. Then the food which he is eating cannot be non-violent.

The other part of right-food is that you should eat in a very peaceful, a very joyful state. If you are not in such a state, then it is better to wait until you are and not to eat for a while. When the mind is absolutely ready, only then should you eat your meals.

“How long will it take for the mind to be ready? If you are aware enough to wait, then at the most it can remain disturbed for only a day. But you have never bothered to listen to it; you have made eating food a completely mechanical process. You put food into the body and then leave the dining table — it is no longer a psychological process, and that is dangerous.

“On the body level, right-food should be healthy, non-stimulating and non-violent; on the psychological level the mind should be in a blissful state, graceful and joyous; and on the level of the soul, there should be a feeling of gratefulness, of thankfulness. These three things make food the right-food….

A Sense of Gratefulness

“You are eating food, you are drinking water, you are breathing — you should have a sense of gratefulness for all this. Toward all of life, toward the whole world, toward the whole universe, toward all of nature, toward the divine, there should be a feeling of gratefulness: ‘I have received one more day to live. Once more I have received food to eat. For one more day I am seeing the sun, seeing the flowers blossoming. I am alive again today’…

“This feeling, this feeling of gratitude should be present in all aspects of life — and very particularly concerning your diet. Only then can your diet become the right-diet.”

Copyright © 2010 Osho International Foundation

Excerpted from: Osho, The Inner Journey, Talk #3 – The Navel: Seat of Will

To read the complete talk and see all available media formats, click here

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