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.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle Land

You go at this kind of backwards. Most people want to know how to eat less. But you don’t mention that until the end. Still interesting, though.

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Fred

Thanks, Michelle. Glad you noticed. There are tons of materials out there teaching us how to feed our bodies. Even plenty teaching us how to use our minds. But the mind loves food, too. The brain loves chocolate. It loves sex. It loves pasta. By letting the brain and mind participate in pleasure, you get better pleasure, and a better mind, too.

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Michelle Land

I think guys have a tougher time with this than women. Women eat slower and taste their food better. Men stuff food faster in order to get full. A perfect example is the way Tom Hanks eats a danish on the plane in “Catch me if you can”. I said, Why do all mean eat like that? My husband said, We don’t.

But they do.

I’m not saying women can’t learn from this too. I’m just saying men do it more.

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Fred

Hey, Michelle! Great to see you again!

You are so right. In fact, the Japanese have a word ku or gu which refers to the act of a man stuffing food into his mouth. I’ll admit that I have to make a conscious effort to eat slowly or I will be finished before I enjoyed anything. Perhaps that explains why my experience was so powerful the day I wrote this Update. Meditative eating is a way of teasing or tantalizing the pleasure receptors in the brain. Wow. Leave it to a woman to make this racy.

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Don

I eat to fast too. I think I’ll start trying some more of this exercise. do you have any suggestions for acid stomach. I take about ten tums a day.

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