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Pavel Somov, Ph.D.: Open Your Mind Before You Open Your Mouth

Mar 17, 2010 10:59:12 AM- huffingtonpost.com
Hello, Eating Zoolanders

Matilda: "Did you find the files?"
Hansel: "I don't even know what they loo--What do they look like?"
Matilda: "They're in the computer."
Hansel: "They're in the computer?"
Matilda: "Yeah, they're definitely in there. I don't know how he labeled them."
Hansel: "I got it."
Matilda: "You gotta figure it out. We're running out of time. You gotta find them and meet me at the show."
Hansel: "Roger. In the computer. It's so simple."

Mind is a zoolander: a fashionable savage hypnotized by society to run random programs without self-awareness. Mind is a cliché-making machine starved for food of self-awareness. Who programmed you, eating zombie? Who'll reprogram you, eating zoolander? The answer to the former question is lost in antiquity, the answer to the latter question is reading this sentence. Guess who!

De-Programmer is Re-Programmer

If you had all the money in the world, would you hire a virtual Zen master to pop into your consciousness three times a day to help you go off the autopilot, if only for a moment, to take a look at the programming files that you are running your mind-computer on? No? I figured you'd say that. So, here's a once-in-a-lifetime special for you: would you still hire a virtual Zen master to help you restore your mind-flow if he/she/it were... free of charge? Too responsible? Too freeing? Confused a bit by the offer? Congratulations: confusion deprograms, cleans the slate blank, enlightening clarity and re-programming ensues.

What? When? What's this drivel I am reading?! Wait, did I, the reader, think that or did I, the reader, just read this? Is there a difference, reader-writer? Here's a koan for you: does food have taste when you just eat it, mindlessly? Or: does this sentence have meaning when you just read it, mindlessly? No justice in mindlessness, see? If you don't yet, no worries: confusion's on the house, so is the enlightenment. Consider it as an appetizer to the main course, eating Zoolander, which you'll find in the next paragraph.

Mindful Eating Rascal Sage

Mindful eating is underutilized. Sure, to the extent to which mindless eating leads to mindless overeating, mindful eating is a way to shed a few pounds. Whoopty doo! You could just go on another diet, right? Nothing's new here. But here's some deep-fried turkey-leg of wisdom for you to sharpen your teeth on (no, not from humble mini-me, but from eons back, from rascal sages with meta-minds that wrote in riddles and ate with moderation).

Mindful eating - dating in its history to Jainist ahimsa-style ethical eating and Buddhist oryoki-style meditative eating - is more about noticing the Eater than paying attention to food. Next time you eat, ask yourself: "Who is eating?" Notice your Zoolander mind choke on the question. As your mind says "me" or "I" or "Mr. Smith, on an endless filibuster lunch-break," recognize that you had a thought and, of course, you are not a thought or a word or a name you call yourself. And ask again: "Who is eating now?"

Wake yourself up with this simple question: go off the autopilot, take off your grass-skirt, eating Zoolander-Zombie, throw on something a bit more civilized, say, a meditative hoodie of a Silicon Valley code-breaker busy self-reprogramming. Come to the table of presence before it pushes back away from your belly full of acid reflux. Cultivate a reflex (habit) of overriding the reflex (habit) of mindlessness. Start all your meals with an appetizer of mindfulness.

Open Your Mind Before You Open Your Mouth

Most of us eat at least three times a day, each meal like the last meal, in a hurry, like we are on death row. Eating is inevitable, mindfulness isn't. Let each meal be a meditation on self-presence. Let each meal be an alarm clock to your consciousness. Let eating be your rascal sage that knocks on the door of your consciousness and you open not knowing which side you are on: eater or food or one with all. Eating Zoolander: the files of your mindful eating re-programming are IN the computer now, pre-installed: use the Esc key to let yourself out of this zoo of mindlessness.

Feeling a little blank or mind-full? Same thing-less thing. In the meantime, enough mindless reading about mindful eating, time to re-program.

Pavel, part-time Eating Zoolander, part-time Mindful Eating Rascal Sage, pleasantly full, if not mildly stuffed with words...

Pavel Somov, Ph.D., author of "Eating the Moment: 141 Mindful Practices to Overcome Overeating One Meal at a Time." (workshops in PA, MD, NJ, VA in April-May 2010)


Mindful Eating Tracker


Zoolander (2001), Paramount Pictures

Read more: Oryoki, Mindful Eating, Mindfulness, Zoolander, Jainism, Ahimsa, Mindless Eating, Obesity, Buddhism, Overeating, Living News