The human body is essentially a biological machine, refined over a billion years of evolution. For much of our modern evolution, the body was designed to consume mostly leaves, vegetables, seeds, and nuts, much like our closest great ape relatives. There is a clear link between the food we eat and the health of our minds, especially when it comes to living a more meaningful, meditative life.
Our modern lives have seen us move away from the whole and natural foods that our ancestors once ate in favour of salt and sugar-laden processed foods that have been proven to cause extensive damage both to the mind and body. Fortunately, with better food choices, a person will begin to see an immediate effect on their meditation sessions, as we will explore here.
The Process of Awareness
One of the lessons that meditation can teach a person is how to be more aware of what’s around them, but also what’s going on in their minds. We’re so consumed with the modernity of the technological, Western world, packed with social media and fast foods, that we ultimately lose connection with our own psyche, along with the ability to just focus on what matters. There are various reasons for this, but more research has shown that the mind is in a constant state of panic due to the way that the western diet affects the body, namely with inflammation. Inflammation is an immune response to potentially harmful stimuli, and it causes the immune system to inflame a particular system.
Further research has proven that this inflammation can cause further issues, such as depression, anxiety, and an inability to concentrate. Mix all of these together, and it makes sense as to why so many people of the modern world battle to meditate effectively.
Switching over to whole, plant-based foods is recommended for most people, especially for those that want to follow a more Buddhist way of life, but there is still more than we can do to increase our mindfulness and ultimately our meditative effectiveness. One of these is the speed at which we eat our food. Mealtimes have become something of a race, and not only does it cause problems for our digestive system, but it actually alters the way that our bodies ultimately use and store energy. Meals should be eaten slowly over a period of at least 20 minutes. Every mouthful should be chewed properly; namely because it helps our brain know exactly when we’re full, but also because foods need to be masticated properly in order to be digested and give us full access to the nutrient value.
In line with the principles of meditation, being aware of one’s own body is vitally important to becoming more spiritually and physically attuned, to benefiting from patience and moving away from the fast-paced lifestyles that is causing so much untold damage around the world.