Session One: Inner Authority
What is the alternative to self-control? How can we access the intuitive knowledge about food, and learn to trust it?
This learning journey was designed with a very ambitious goal in mind: to transform your relationship with food, dramatically and permanently. Such a transformation may seem like a grand vision, a destination far off in the distance. But over the next few weeks my hope is that rather than struggling to reach a goal, you will instead feel this new relationship arising within yourself.
Beginning now, and throughout the entirety of the course, I’ll be asking you to tend the nuances that arise in moments of choice. In doing so, you will cultivate and strengthen the inner authority that allows you to know for yourself what foods truly nourish you, and to choose them effortlessly. If you give this learning journey your full attention, you’ll probably find it is fundamentally different from anything you have tried before. It will be a true journey, one in which you explore and learn to trust the pleasure that comes from meeting authentic needs.
Now, let’s get started…
Introductory Session: Conceptual Discussion, Meditation & Practice
This session, there are two practices for you to explore:
First, and very important: Make no changes whatsoever in your diet unless they are natural and unforced.
This isn’t one of those motivational programs in which you vow to try harder and turn over a new leaf! Many of you have already tried that, especially if you are coming into this with a history of dieting to lose weight. So, make no changes unless they are the result of changing desires.
Second, direct more sensory attention to your food.
What does it mean to direct more sensory attention to your food? I’m definitely not saying to eat every meal like you ate the piece of apple in the short meditation from this session. And I am not saying that eating very, very slowly and mindfully is a practice that we should implement every single time we sit down to a meal or have a snack. There might be a time for that, say, in a monastery or on a retreat where you eat silent meals etc. But I just don’t think that’s practical for everybody.
But how about trying one bite of each particular food at a meal, in which you notice how that food lands on each of your senses? Or maybe the first bite of any meal? Or maybe all of your breakfast? Whatever works for best for you as a practice, an experiment in noticing. Whatever gives you a sense of ease, yet opens up your senses and awareness of experience. Try revisiting that state of total focus onto your food.
We are going to work with attention more in some of the future segments. But for now, as a starting place, just bring more attention, more sensing, to your food. Because this becomes the foundation of recovery of authentic appetite and the intuitive guidance we want to cultivate.
Practice this for at least a few days or a week before moving on to session two of the program. And interact with other people in your personal community, just to share your experience and confirm that you are not alone in your journey with food.
We’ve moved all course discussions onto our online community, A New and Ancient Story. To join the discussion forum, go to the landing page and read the introduction and posting guidelines. Then, if those resonate, apply to join (all serious applicants are accepted). Once you are a member, find the discussion group for this course among the course forums on the left menu.