Today feels new to me because I’m not drinking coffee. Any other day, I would be enjoying a cup right about now, praying to the caffeine for inspiration as to what I should write. Not today, I am mug-less and it feels challenging. To practice restraint with food and drink is my latest personal study. Gluttony is a harsh word that we must come face to face with at some point. I have been observing the feeling of hunger and the precise brand of willpower that grants me the control to say no to food, too much food, and food at the wrong time etc. It is an odd experience, because I am an American and I have stuffed my face whenever I have wanted my whole life. And this has led to late night eating, habitual coffee drinking etc.
Here’s the thing, I eat really well. Very close to 100% organic, mostly vegan, minimal gluten etc. What has been revealed to me is that there is more to health and nutrition than what you eat. Beyond what you eat: there is why you eat, and furthering this investigation there is how much you eat and when you eat.
Cultivating temperance around food and drink might be the most valuable action we can take to begin restoring balance back into our physical bodies. My history has been doing some sort of cleanse and then quickly finding myself eating the same way again, digging that same hole of overeating as well as an ugly codependent relationship with caffeine and sugar.
From a global perspective, it makes sense for me to practice being a little bit hungry from time to time. Many stay hungry for long periods of time, and then die from that extensive hunger. This is sad truth. Perhaps, my willingness to eat a little less somehow frees up some energy that can help someone be fed with less access to resources.
This is not a blog about wishful thinking, so let’s keep this practical. Here I am, at the crossroads of desire. There is me and the temptation. I either succumb to it or I don’t.
In this moment I am succeeding by staying clear of the current temptation: coffee
To practice restraint at any capacity is one of the most difficult things for us to put into practice. Some are more sensual than others so the difficulty of the challenge will always vary, but the level of refinement available to each one of us is the same. We can learn to operate in such a way that our internal energy is our driving force instead of falsely clinging and clawing at consumption in all its forms, thinking it will save us or fill the current void we are so desperately trying to chase away.
Notice how hunger is almost always accompanied by a lack of emotional control. This is not the way it has to be. When you have a strong appetite, practice remaining calm and not allowing your emotional body to intersect with your physical hunger. Mastering this practice can serve greatly in the larger mission of becoming a more conscious person in this life.
When your food arrives. Wait just one more moment. Give thanks for the nourishment you are about to receive and contemplate all of the cosmic, earthly, and human forces it took to be delivered to your plate. May all beings be properly nurtured.