Ram Dass is joined by a young Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield for a meaningful talk about mindfulness and food.
This discussion on mindfulness and food is part of the Naropa University Bhagavad Gita Sessions of 1974. We are given a new perception of what it is that we are eating. Ram Dass, Joseph, and Jack help us to understand that there is a connection between what sustains us and who we are.
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You and Your Food (Opening) – We start with an opening prayer from Ram Dass, a blessing for our food. He shares a reflection on why we bless our food, so that it all may merge into Brahman.
Breaking Attachment (13:45) – Jack Kornfield shares a few techniques designed to break our attachment to food and end the illusion of separateness between us and what we eat. It is not what we eat that makes us wise or leads to the development of insight. Instead, it is the process of how we eat that will give rise to that.
“Eating is like putting nothing into nothing.” – Ram Dass
Sensation (20:45) – Being mindful of sensation is the basis for a lot of vipassana practice. Jack walks through the steps of becoming aware of all the sensations that come from eating. By paying attention to the sensation, you cut off the discrimination of your mind. In doing so, there is no room for judgment of the food. This cuts away the desires behind eating. The separation of desire from food allows us to look at food only as sustenance.
“The body is simply a vehicle to be cared for, and not to be pampered. Food is simply a means of sustaining life to continue your spiritual practice. You are not eating because you enjoy eating, but you are eating as a way to sustain your energy to continue your practice on the spiritual path.”– Jack Kornfield
Eating in a Meditative Way (33:00) – Joseph Goldstein discusses how to stay grounded in these different meditations on food, by developing a strong mindfulness of all the process involved in eating. When we learn to eat mindfully, much is revealed about our minds and our bodies.
“The entire exercise becomes a meditation. In this way, we expand the state of mindfulness to cover the entire experience of our activities and begin to live in a very meditative state.” – Joseph Goldstein
Eating and Sadhana (43:45) – We have gone so far overboard in our sense gratification. Ram Dass talks about the pleasure we get from food, and how much it costs to surrender a little of that pleasure into becoming mindful of the process of eating. Part of sadhana is experimenting with different facets of life. Eating is one of these aspects. By turning your attention to these aspects, you begin to bring them into harmony with the wisdom that has been unfolding for us in our sadhana.
“Anyone who has struggled with their weight knows that if you focus on getting thin, you suffer all the time. However, if you become mindful of eating, you will become thin.” – Ram Dass
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