For many years I have had a habit of listening to health, personal development, and spiritual audiobooks. It is a big part of my mindfulness practice. Back before you could download books to your phone with Audible, I used to purchase cd sets from Sounds True (ask me about some of these—they may be available in our lending library). I also love to listen to podcasts, dharma teachings, or interviews on You Tube. Sometimes I read books the old-fashioned way, but I really love having the material in auditory form so that it can accompany me while I work, on errands, or on walks.
Here is what I have noticed: when my mind is fed with uplifting food, I am happier and more peaceful. Positive mental states flourish, and my growth as a human being is accelerated. The mindfulness muscle is strengthened when I listen to anything that relates to mental, physical, or spiritual health. I also want less of everything because I feel content within myself. I don’t need to shop as much, eat as much, or chase after experiences that promise good feelings… because I already feel good. And every single decision I make is influenced by the positive things that are feeding my mind.
During times when I don’t consciously feed my mind, I am more prone to stress, discontent, striving, impatience, and other negative emotions. The time that would be spent listening to valuable material is filled with the car radio playing songs I don’t even like, useless advertisements, depressing news that I can’t actually do anything about, mindless scrolling through my personal Facebook feed, or other similar ephemera.
Advertisers know this: they pay big bucks to feed your mind with material that creates a sense of unease, want, striving, and desire. That creates an emptiness that they can fill with their addictive processed foods or product du jour. It usually takes a loud, annoying advertisement on the car radio for me to snap back to my senses—“why am I listening to this??”– and put on some Pema Chodron.
What does this have to do with weight loss? Too often, we eat to fill a void. We eat out of boredom, loneliness, grief, stress, etc. We eat to satisfy hunger for fun, excitement, beauty, meaning, or pleasure. That void does not come from our body, other than the actual addictive quality of the foods themselves. Rather, that void comes from our mind. What are you feeding your mind to fill the void?
I believe in meaningful coincidences. Call it synchronicity, law of attraction, or whatever. But what I have noticed is that when my mind is filled with the food of a mindfulness practice, I tend to hear exactly the lessons I need to hear. And then when I share some of those lessons in our groups, they are also exactly the things people are working on, struggling with, or pondering. Go figure. Chances are if you set your intention to resolve a particular problem that pertains to your issues with weight, and you consciously fill your mind with edifying material, you will find the insights you need to solve your problem. Give it a try!
We have a large recommended reading portion of our website. If you make feeding your mind a deliberate part of your daily mindfulness practice, you will see results. And you can feed your mind while commuting, walking to work, during short breaks, or doing chores. We all have time for this. Everything is connected: what you feed your mind has an effect on what–and how much– you eventually feed your body. I’d love to hear from people about what they are reading or listening to as part of their daily practice!
Right now I’m listening to Pema Chodron’sComing Closer to Ourselves: Making Everything the Path of Awakening on the Audible app on my phone. Steve is listening to The dalai lama's Free teaching “Human Values and Universal Responsibility.”
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