Bringing Food to Mind
Bringing Food to Mind
Bringing Food to Mind

By Denise Flora

On the right road!

Denise driving license

I am happy with my Driving Licence photo. The new card made last week captures a happier and healthier 2014 than the card from 2007. What I have learned by working with Universal Education teachers and ideas (16 Guidelines, Seven Steps, Transformative Mindfulness Methods) during these years between has helped to steer me to this right path.

Universal Education for Compassion and Wisdom principles applied to eating and beyond.
   
To improve my health I journaled first on 'Contentment' from the 16G and 'What do I want?', the first Step. It occurred to me to experiment - would a small snack eaten with full attention satisfy as much as a bigger portion eaten mindlessly? I watched cravings arise and disappear whenever someone opened a bag of salty snacks.

Over time, I lost those 80 pounds and met my health goal. But the biggest 'aha' came when I recognized that same echo, craving, arise in me as friends were taking photos. I put down my camera and rejoiced that my progress around food was extending to other areas of my life.

The process of starting a monthly gathering.

'Food for Thought' is what we called the secular ‘food and mindfulness’ group I was invited to start. We began January 2013 on a drop-in, donation basis.
 
We meet the first Friday of the month over lunchtime. We learn how our minds work and how to set up our environment to make the choices we wish to make around food. We consider specific UE ideas and how they might help us move toward our goals. We learn how to establish new habits. We share strategies and research, we try mindful eating practices together, and small groups often stay for more discussion. We don't tell each other what we should eat. We focus on awareness without judgment and honor the fact that everyone is at their own unique place on their own path.

Our diverse goals of using food to improve heart, mind and body.

New people come each month - men, women, young, old - to share aspirations for shifts around mindfulness and food. Our group intention is to support each other to learn and develop habits that will better nourish ourselves, enhance our practice and our ability to help others. Some want to... be more mindful, lose or gain weight, eat or provide healthier meals, eat less or no meat or animal products, enjoy food more, practice gratitude or connection to their close ones or to the larger world - a range of goals to enhance both compassion and wisdom.

Gateway to the community.

Many people come to our group as their first contact with Kadampa Center. They feel more comfortable coming to a class about food than some of the other classes which may seem more foreign. But everybody eats. Just like everybody breathes. So focusing on the breath or a morsel of food is a great place to start.

To find out more:

See the KadampaCenter webpage about Food for Thought here:  http://kadampa-center.org/event/food-thought-opportunities-mindfulness-related-food
   
Denise (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) is in the process of writing a book about her adventures exploring UECW principles with food as the path. When complete it will be made available from her programme, Florasabi, through Lulu on her storefront here: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/florasabi

May this be of Benefit!