Mindfulness means that we take a moment by moment approach to life. By doing so, we become more aware of our inner nature and conscious of our environment and how it impacts our life. When mindful, we cease to criticize or judge ourselves. We are increasingly more compassionate and loving with ourselves and others.
Mindful Consciousness, according to Elanor Rosh at the University of California at Berkely, means “to adhere in that moment, to the object of consciousness with a clear mental focus.” Mindful consciousness, as related to mindful eating would then mean we adhere to our food with a clear mental focus … we have pure perception of the food we grow or purchase, of what we are eating, how the food we eat looks on our plate, why we are eating it, how much or how little of it we are eating, how the food tastes and smells.
When we have adopted mindfulness as a life-style, our goal is to be mindfully conscious each moment of our life. That would mean we are mindfully conscious of all aspects of our life and approach each thing that we do, say and want in a clear, reality based way. Within the mindful life-style approach, we begin to see eating as a mindful activity just like mindful meditation, mindful breathing or mindful walking.
My book Pathways to Wholeness has a section called The “How To” of Mindfulness pp. 19 – 25. I love the sentence “ Our ultimate goal is to be fully present for our life” Here are the steps to becoming fully present for our life. They are the underpinnings of Mindfulness and Mindful Eating … the mindset that helps us progress.
- Become aware of yourself becoming aware
- Accept what already exists
- Realize that regardless of our reality, we are limitless and free
- Allow our mind to become unencumbered, still, quiet and peaceful
There is a wonderful website developed by The Center of Mindful Eating, and they have outlined the characteristics of an individual who eats mindfully. When you apply the four principles from Pathways to Wholeness to these characteristics, they come alive and offer you great support for your journey.
The individual who eats mindfully:
- “Acknowledges that there is no right or wrong way to eat but varying degrees of awareness surrounding the experience of food.
- Accepts that his/her eating experiences are unique.
- Is an individual who by choice, directs his/her awareness to all aspects of food and eating on a moment to moment basis.
- Is an individual who looks at the immediate choices and direct experiences associated with food and eating: not to the distant health outcome of that choice.
- Is aware of and reflects on the effects caused by unmindful eating.
- Experiences insight about how he/she can act to achieve specific health goals as he/she becomes more attuned to the direct experience of eating and feelings of health.
- Becomes aware of the interconnection of earth, living beings, and cultural practices and the impact of his/her food choices has on those systems.”
Within this article are the beginnings of personal change … thoughts to aid our transition from mindless eating to mindful eating. How do you apply the principles of mindful eating to your life? You begin by ceasing to judge and criticize, forgiving yourself when you loose mindful awareness. You begin by disowning guilt and shame as it relates to who you are now and what you eat today. You begin by adopting laughter and joy as a way of life. You begin to realize that you are indeed free to choose!
Reading inspirational material always helps our focus. Two books that you might want to purchase:
- Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life by Tich Nhat Hanh
- Meal by Meal: 365 Daily Mediations for Finding Balance Through Mindful Eating by Donald Altman