Our minds need to be nourished as well as our bodies. How are we monitoring what is coming into our minds? That is the question posed in this piece. It is interesting for it raises a question for those who adhere to religious or spiritual practices. If we read the wrong books, are we causing a purity of practice and complexity to overtake the value of simplicity?
It was on this same trip to work the other day, walking a different way, seeing different things, that I spotted this sign:
“FEED YOUR MIND.”
And it led me to wondering… What are you feeding your mind?
Are you nourishing it?
Or mindlessly stuffing some junk in for a quick bit of rush?
What are you putting in there?
(And what are you hoping to get back out of it?)
In his book, “Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life,” world renown Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh writes about mindful consumption. Not just of food. But of everything you ingest: television, conversations, images, thoughts.
So, if you were to look at the typical “diet” you feed your mind, what might you find?
Are you letting a lot of toxic worry find its way in?
Does stress try to sprinkle a salty layer onto everything you “eat”?
Are there times you get a double-dose of self-doubt?
What ways might there be of protecting yourself from these things? Of mindfully noting them before you launch into a full-scale “feast” of them? Of choosing when you’ve had enough of them – before they make you feel ill inside…
And what might some healthier, more life-affirming “foods” be for your particular mind? What sort of thoughts could help you feel soothed or relaxed or worthy or restored?
Sometimes it’s worth just practicing how to notice what your current habits are – what are you actually feeding your mind? And then, when you’re ready, noticing what other options there might be available in this banquet we call “life”… Noticing what other dishes you might like to try.
Maybe just tasting something just a little different, trying something just a little different, is all it takes? And who knows what might flow from there…
Text and photo copyright: Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar
Gabrielle Gawne-Kelnar (Grad Dip Counselling & Psychotherapy) is a writer, blogger and Sydney psychotherapist in private practice at One Life Counselling & Psychotherapy. Gabrielle also facilitates telephone support groups for people who are living with cancer, for their carers, and for people who have been bereaved through a cancer experience. She was the former editor of a journal on counselling and psychotherapy and she provides regular therapeutic updates on facebook and Twitter @OneLifeTherapy.