We’re living our day, or just finished dinner after getting home from work, you have some unscheduled or uncommitted time….
….and here comes a thought suddenly about food.
Mmm, wouldn’t that be good to eat right now?
I know I’m not hungry, but it’s soooo yummy. Just a little bite.
When I used to have this kind of thought of eating, when not hungry, I’d think a second later “No. Don’t do that. Bad idea. Fight! It’s wrong and you know it!”
I’d take up arms against the idea of eating. This idea shouldn’t be happening, I hate this, I must fight it to the death. I must control this. Uh oh. There’s something wrong with me, obviously. I can’t stop craving. This is terrible. I need more willpower.
The only way to get through this, is to just eat.
And of course, what was my behavior?
I’d eat. I’d binge. I just fall into the wild chaos and let it take over and rule my present moment. Inside my mind I’d be screaming and battling, I’d make promises about starting tomorrow.
I might even feel a little relieved once I took the first bites of compulsive eating, because now I didn’t have to “fight” anymore or hold everything together with extreme control. I’d just eat, eat, eat.
It felt like letting the thing have me. I don’t have to be in charge anymore.
Which never had a good outcome, except exhaustion and self-hatred and the never-ending repetitive cycle of being trapped and in prison emotionally and physically.
My strategy used to be constantly that I needed to find more willpower. I needed to build my fighter energy. I needed to get more control.
But what if we question “I need to control this.”
Let’s see what happens when we question this sometimes very stressful thought…about anything in life.
Is it true I need to control my urges, control my eating, be in the diet mode of rigidity, exerting effort?
Many people answer “yes” and think it’s the only way to getting what you really want (freedom from compulsion).
How do you react when you believe you need to exert effort and control and fight your urges, in order to get to freedom?
The way I felt is I’d feel the war within, I’d feel angry. I’d argue myself right into a screaming binge. I’d feel like I was duking it out with some kind of force that was taking me over like an evil demon. I definitely believed in good vs evil.
But who would you be without the belief you have to gain more control, and this is the only way to happiness and peace?
Wow. Almost strange, right?
If there’s no fighting, doesn’t it mean I’m simply eating from one end of the city to the other without care?
No. That’s the Urge taking over everything and “winning” or conquering, but not it a way you can count on or feel peaceful or loving about.
Looking back on that time I used to regularly binge-eat, it felt like anxiety and believing my thoughts about that uncomfortable moment was the thing that “won” over or dominated the scene.
I was believing my very stressful, uncomfortable thoughts about life and my own inadequacy and the need for escape.
Who would I be without that story about needing to fight?
Turning the thought around: I do NOT have to get more willpower or control when it comes to compulsive eating. How could this be true?
I have all the will necessary (not “missing” willpower), I have the capacity to stop, to say no, to slow down, to wait. I have the capacity to feel peace. I can notice that overeating or eating when I’m not hungry isn’t satisfying truly, anyway. That’s already clear. Nothing is missing here. I can identify other thoughts I have about life, and take them through inquiry.
Turning the thought around again: “I” have all the energy and power ever needed. I don’t have to be in charge and control everything, including emotions and thoughts and other peoples’ behaviors and incidents that occur in life.
“Practice not-doing, and everything will fall into place.” ~ Tao Te Ching #3
Let’s see what happens today if we can live the turnaround to relax, instead of exert more control, or more willpower. If you could relax, you probably wouldn’t follow the order from part of your mind to binge eat. You might find you can live through disturbed feelings. You might find you’re OK.