It is a fact that human nature is driven by desire.
Desire stems out of the emotional, lower mind, usually neglecting the true needs and requirements of the physical body as it responds to the senses and the influences of the environment. The physical part of our system actually suffers greatly at the hands of the emotional desire body, operating with the three lower chakras and the grey matter positioned behind the pancreas.
Most of the time when we choose to eat it is prompted by smell or taste, and not because we are truly hungry. Taste is the trickiest sense of all because when it looks at food or smells the aroma of food, the mouth begins watering as the taste buds recall the flavor. This sensation of taste tricks and motivates the body into eating food. Even if there are no hunger pains, the mouth will water and prompt the hands to reach out and take the food and place it in the mouth. If only the body could speak for itself and say, “not now, please”. Truly it functions as a slave to the desires and emotions of the lower mind and suffers greatly because of it.
Notice the next time your mouth begins to water prompted by the smell or sight or even thought of food. Instead of responding to the stimulation of the senses, take time to let them pass. You will see that the body is not really hungry and you will feel better physically choosing to give the body a rest.
You will also notice that when you respond to the sense of taste and decide to eat food that your energy level plummets, causing you to slow down or become sleepy. Your breathing changes too, as a block is created in an air passageway in one of the nostrils. Choosing not to eat and waiting for faux hunger pains to diminish and fade, the body moves into greater vitality and energy. The body loves it when the digestion process is given a rest, refusing to respond to the senses on every whim.
When you do decide to dine on food, watch how the body responds. Eating according to blood type, one can watch the body respond with delight when eating at the right time, the correct type of food for the physical body and the correct amount ~ not too much food at once. Stopping just before the feeling of fullness gives a clear impression of what is correct and working for the internal system as one enjoys more vitality after eating.
Over-eating actually stops the process of nutrifying and turns food into toxins. It does much more harm to the internal organs and nervous system than people realize. It makes the body vulnerable to disease and unfriendly, vital forces. Usually, it is depression or the greed of taste that causes this tendency to consume more than what the body needs, which demonstrates how emotions, desire and the senses are at the root of many self-defeating patterns and habits.
It takes approximately three days to move all the contents out of the body leftover from one large meal, from consumption to digestion to assimilation to elimination. After three days, the body expresses authentic hunger and begins to yearn for real nutrition. Humans eat so much more than what is required to maintain vital energy in the body and enjoy good health.
The body loves conscious willpower applied in all activity concerning its use, especially with food. Truly, it does have a voice, it is very subtle and not easily seen by the busy, distracted lower mind that is using the senses to drive the life. This is the purpose of the fifth rung on the ladder of Yoga, Pratayahara, the control of senses and desires. As one masters the practice of daily asana’s (hatha yoga) and learns how to control breath through the practice of pranayama, then, one becomes conscious of how their senses are driving the life, using intelligence to navigate.
For the majority of humans, the main intellect is the emotional body using the senses to perceive, classify, recall and judge. The person determines what it likes and dislikes, creates boundaries and preferences as it is moving through life experiencing and encountering events and people. All perception, judgment, preferences, projections and ideas are based on the state of relationship of the emotional, lower mind and the senses.
When our senses drive our life, we lose ability to consciously observe our physical body and intelligently control our emotions. For instance, coffee over-stimulates the nervous system. This is one food item that is easy to identify its influence on our emotions and energy. Often, people are pushed way beyond their natural rhythm into a fast-paced, overwhelming energy that is not calm nor centered and it has a terrible impact on the physical body damaging internal organs and stressing the nerves when used in a habitual way. At the same time, it causes one to become short-tempered, easily triggered into anger, impatient and overwhelmed. Coffee tends to become a compulsive habit fostered by the emotional desire body to stimulate false vitality. Including, shortness of breath and quick short breaths often happen as a result of drinking coffee, which stimulates greed and desire in the emotional body. It has many subtle effects that often go unnoticed by the unconscious, unaware mind.
Sugar has an equal impact in throwing the chemistry off balance inside the body causing sadness, depression, anger, over-stimulated nerves and so on. This is how unconscious, habitual, compulsive behavior driven by the senses runs the life.
Cravings, addictions, habitual, unconscious behavior causes our mind to become confused and cut-off from intelligent navigation. When this happens, we lose connection with the subtle cues from the body for directing life purpose and manifesting positive events.
This is why Yoga science is designed with the eight rungs in ascending order. Until one has purified the physical body and has learned to apply the Yamas and Niyamas for refinement of character, adopts a daily morning ritual of stretching the body and learns to become conscious of breath through Pranayama, it is impossible to step into the practice of Pratyahara, conscious sense-withdrawal and intelligent, conscious life navigation. One step at a time is the way to get past the mind.
Following are exercises for using intelligence over emotions and senses while becoming more conscious of the body/mind relationship.
Love Letter to the Body
Take a moment to evaluate your minds relationship with your body.
Pen down a love letter to your body expressing your gratitude for how it carries you through the day. Acknowledge its willingness to heed your minds desires and commands. Recognize its receptivity for maturing, growing and expanding in awareness. Request that it speaks to you and guides you into the best actions for meeting its needs. Make a promise to offer it what is correct for maintaining good health, promise to be mindful of how your mind and emotions are impacting its health and promise to apply more awareness for managing a greater peaceful mental space so that the body can relax.
Now you are gaining conscious control over your senses and desires. If you are mindful of your body and how it feels, grateful for its continuing performance to carry you through life, surely, you will be more mindful not to overeat, consume junk food or put toxins into your system.
Mental Chatter Control
In a comfortable place, where you spend time relaxing and meditating, undisturbed, sit quietly and watch the thoughts run through your mind, one by one.
Notice each thought that enters and then say to yourself, “I am not this thought” or “I see myself having this thought yet, it is not me”. Allow the mind to entertain all the thoughts that pass through. Through applying this exercise you are becoming aware of what is mind and discovering what is the core of you beneath the noisy mental chatter.
The mind is a receptacle of thoughts, it does not produce thoughts. They enter according to desire and inclinations, the environment where one is residing and the company within it. Applying conscious intelligence gives one the ability to exercise willpower and control over the emotional mind as it filters the quality of thought-currents one entertains. Through the practice of Pratayahara, detaching from thoughts and controlling responses to senses, one moves from a human response machine to a divine conscious being.
Even in an environment where there are lots of people, one can learn how to stop the thoughts from entering into one’s system, reducing the impact and influence of others through conscious awareness.
If you practice this daily for one week, you will be amazed by the awareness that is gained and the ability that is acquired to control one’s thought-field, creating greater peace of mind.
How to Rejuvenate the System through conquering Desire for Food and the sense of Taste
* TYAGA ~ living life with an attitude of prayer and reverence aligned with the laws of the cosmos. TYAGA strengthens self-confidence, willpower, assists in overcoming the “ups and downs” of the Maya and gives the power to move through life consciously. Through practicing TYAGA, one chooses consciousness to rule life and becomes the catalyst for transforming the chemical balance of the body, brain and etheric system beyond mundane existence, overcoming the passions of the senses and animal nature creating a divine being.
Tyāga means – sacrifice, renunciation, abandonment, resignation, donation, forsaking, liberality, withdrawal – “giving up with generosity what one could probably have kept”. – wikipedia.