One cool thing about the universe is that as far as we know, everything operates under the same principles, be they physical, mental or emotional.
As modern folks, we often find ourselves at the edges of an experience –– moving fast, unable to savor the subtleties of a day or moment because we are so quickly on to the next thing.
I remember a ride at the local fair when I was a kid –– youʼd get strapped into a big wheel with 20 or so other kids around the circumference and then it would begin to spin, lift up and tilt vertically. The centrifugal force was so great you could barely reach your arm toward the center of the wheel, your body pushed so hard to the periphery you were literally “stuck”. It was really fun, for about two minutes.
We experience this all the time. We move fast in the body and mind, and get pulled to the periphery of our experiences.
Once there, it is almost impossible to move to the center of the wheel, where the forces of entropy are minimal. When you spin at the periphery, like our planet in itʼs orbit, what can draw you closer to the center? Only the gravity of the sun. The mass of the earth and speed of itʼs orbit balances the pull, so in this case luckily, we keep circling. What would be required to move closer to the center would be less speed, or less mass, or both.
For us to move toward a still-point in the center of our awareness (and it is no coincidence ancient people had a reverence for the sun as a metaphor of our own center) we need to either slow down, or release mass –– weight.
Emotionally, weight appears as our attachments to things. Literally, what we are holding on to.
When we feel thrown away from our center, it is natural to want to cling to something stable –– to become attached. In the mind, we search for order and predictability –– contracts with others. In the body this clinging can take the form of over-eating, which creates mass.
Paradoxically, when we begin to, with love, release those things we cling to mentally and physically, we become lighter in mind and body. It is at that point we can choose to move toward the center of our experiences, no longer spinning in the cycle of samsara, but an observer at the center of it all.
Its fun to spin, but more fun to choose to when to spin and when to stop.
Practically what we can do to “lose weight”:
– Eat a protein-rich breakfast. A three-egg veggie and feta omelet if you donʼt eat meat, or perhaps grass-fed free-range organic steak and eggs if you like meat. You may not feel hungry in the morning, and that may be because youʼve snacked until you went to bed the night before. Try not to do that, and youʼll be hungry when you wake up, and then you can break-your-fast.
– Bring your attention to your meal. The preparation of it, and the consumption of it. Your attention will help you digest the nutrients and really enjoy the subtleties of eating.
– Eat 2 or 3 meals per day, planning what and when youʼll eat, so you donʼt make food choices with low blood sugar – a recipe for eating things that quickly turn into sugar -muffins, cookies, bread.
– Contemplate an incident that draws you back into a story charged with an emotion you no longer need to feel, concentrate only on the emotion and you will see its transitory nature. It will begin to dissolve.
– If you do a yoga practice in the morning (and if you donʼt, consider learning how) before eating, listen to signs that you need food. Youʼll notice if you try to starve yourself, youʼll lose calm, centered awareness.
Notice when you really get hungry during the day. Eat when you are desirous of food, but not ravenous. Our bodies are always seeking balance – just help the process by moving closer to the center of your awareness.
Dan Clement is the director of Open Source yoga 200/500 hr. teacher training in British Columbia, Canada. In addition to training teachers in this inclusive and evolving method, Dan writes and records songs, plays the banjo and enjoys a good session of Frisbee with his dog. Dan has been teaching yoga since “times of yore”.
For more information, www.OpenSourceYoga.ca