Last December I had been practicing intuitive eating for five months. My focus was 100% on the food, and as a result I was struggling. I have been posting on a thread called Conscious Eating/Conscious Living almost since the beginning of my journey. I didn’t understand why the thread founders decided to call it that. I thought it would have made more sense to call it Intuitive Eating. I didn’t get why they used the word conscious, and I really didn’t get the concept of conscious living. What did that mean, and how was it relevant to intuitive eating?
Then the answer to my question literally fell into my lap. My husband and I moved into our new house at the end of last November. We had a heck of a time getting telephone and internet service. I won’t go into the details, but the phone company was giving us the run around. I spent at least an hour a day talking to various phone company employees, but no one was able to help us. I became very angry over the whole situation. I would rant and rave to anyone who would listen.
This dragged on for about two weeks when The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle arrived in the mail. I was participating in an online secret gift exchange, and my secret person had sent it to me. No doubt it had something to do with all of the angry posts I had posted on the message board about my phone company dealings. I had no idea what this book was about, but I decided to read it anyway. I have never liked to read, but I had no other way to pass the time since we didn’t have phone or internet service. The satellite dish hadn’t been installed yet either, so TV wasn’t an option. That book was literally the only thing around to help me pass the time, so I read it.
I was instantly mesmerized. I read it in two days. Then I rushed out and bought the audio version. I proceeded to listen to it about six more times over the next couple of months. The Power of Now says nothing about conscious eating, but I finally got it. I understood why that thread is called Conscious Eating/Conscious Living. I understood that conscious living is really what this is all about. Conscious eating is just one aspect of conscious living.
This all started to hit me when I got to the part of the book in which Tolle writes about how nothing exists outside of the now. Here is an excerpt.
“Have you ever experienced, done, thought, or felt anything outside the Now? Do you think you ever will? Is it possible for anything to happen or be outside the Now? The answer is obvious, is it not?
Nothing ever happened in the past; it happened in the Now.
Nothing will ever happen in the future; it will happen in the Now.
What you think of as the past is a memory trace, stored in the mind, of a former Now. When you remember the past, you reactivate a memory trace – and you do so now. The future is an imagined Now, a projection of the mind. When the future comes, it comes as the Now. When you think about the future, you do it now. Past and future obviously have no reality of their own. Just as the moon has no lights of its own, but can only reflect the light of the sun, so are past and future only pale reflections of the light, power, and reality of the eternal present. Their reality is ‘borrowed’ from the Now”
If you have ever studied Buddhism or other such teachings, this excerpt probably won’t be as shocking to you as it was to me. But I had never heard anything like this before. I have since heard and read a lot of stuff about being present in the moment. Was I living under a rock before? I think the truth is that I wasn’t ready for that message yet. And the second I was, all of these events unfolded in perfect sequence to bring it to me. Amazing!
I realized that my problems with the phone company weren’t important. I was letting this outside drama interfere with my life. My life is what is happening right now. It has nothing to do with what the phone company failed to do in the past or may or may not do in the future. All that was a distraction from the Now, which is the only thing that really matters. The Now is the true essence of life.
And living in the now is also the key to intuitive eating. By living in the now, by living consciously, I am able to eat consciously. By being present in the moment, I feel my emotions as they come up. In the past, an uncomfortable feeling would often have me running to the fridge. Usually I wouldn’t even realize that was why I was eating. But when I am living consciously, I am conscious of what I am doing. I can’t run from my emotions anymore because I know they are there. I know exactly what I am doing.
So this is why I say that there is no conscious eating without conscious living.