Eat with Your Mind

by Fred

If you have read the Toolbox page on The Art of Eating and the Balance Wheel page on Pleasure, you have some idea of how I breakfast every single day (Exercise 2 in “The Art of Eating”). I have the same meal, same portions, and I follow the exact same procedure. This is not a matter of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. In fact, every other day, I’m tempted to slap some peanut butter on cookies and stuff my face over the sink and chase with a quart of coffee. But I don’t. I follow the same meditative practice every day. My life just works better this way.

Today was different for some reason. Oh, I had the same thing and followed the same procedure. I ran through the same basic meditative sentences in my head that I explain on those pages. But the sensation of the food was extremely powerful today. Nearly brought tears to my eyes. Again, it was the same menu as yesterday and four months ago. I won’t say what it is because that’s not important. The food did not make the pleasure more powerful. My mind did.

The second bite was only halfway down my esophagus when this burst of sensation traveled through my entire body. The taste was exactly the same. The satisfying of hunger still felt exactly the same. But it was all much more intense. It sounds a little creepy, but I actually gasped because because of the intensity.

This is what our bodies are trying to tell us when they are hungry. They want fed. But so does the mind. And so does the brain. The mind and brain like food just as much as your stomach does. In fact, the brain enjoys food on a much more complex level because of the billions of synapses that fire to process the pleasure. The more meditatively we eat, the more we exercise these neural pathways that experience pleasure. We are also exercising the neural pathways for thought and reason.

I don’t know how many millions of dollars Americans spend on language learning or continuing education for the purpose of exercising the mind. It must be phenomenal. But mental exercise can begin right here, right now at your next meal.

Finally, don’t be surprised if you find yourself eating less by experiencing the pleasure of your food more.

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