I have struggled throughout my life with maintaining a healthy weight. In 2002 I weighed almost 140 kg. This had come on the end of years of trying a large range of diets that invariably resulted in losing weight, only to put it all back on plus some. My attachment to eating in the manner I did remained unresolved. I had repeatedly demonstrated strong personal will, as I had successfully controlled my appetite evidenced by the many times I successfully lost weight. But my attachment was stronger than my will, evidenced in the attached picture from 2002. The issue with attachment is not being able to sustain change. How many times have you said, or heard someone else say, ‘No matter how hard I try I can’t… Keep off the weight. Keep going to the gym. Stop making poor relationship choices. Stop getting into debt. Stop smoking’ etc etc. I am confident you have heard of women who leave one abusive relationship only to find themselves in another. Or men who have been in successive relationships where each time they were ‘financially used’ by their various partners.
Seeking to Understand
In 2010, while developing the Enhances Awareness Program, I became aware of the incongruence between my being over-weight and the intention of the program for bringing balance. It took some time before I decided to do something about it, but late in 2010 I decided to walk the Camino de Santiago. I set a date late in 2011 to give me time to prepare. In 14 months of preparation I had dropped 25kg and was walking 18km three mornings a week before work. In the November of 2011 I finished walking 1000kms across Northern Spain and besides weighing in at just under 90kg, I was fitter than I had been for decades. Although I have put on a little of the weight I had lost, it is stable for the first time ever in my life, and I am not dieting. So what changed? Becoming aware of why I was eating in the way I did, and learning to ask myself a very simple question each time I was about to make a food choice – how will this serve me? It was no longer a question of it being right or wrong, or good and bad. More accurately it became about the enquiry, which sought to understand how eating in the way I was, would serve me.
We Each Have a Story
We all have a story that predominately emerged during our early formative years. Our story became the filter-funnel through which every experience of life would be passed. That meant that no matter what the truth was, we could only relate to what we experienced through our story-filter. This ensured that we would always get the same result, irrespective of the truth. For the majority of us that meant certain failure, and to cope with that we found ways to fill the emptiness of our story. For me it was food, for others it might have been hobbies, sex, shopping, exercise, TV, sport, drugs and so on. It may have also been anorexia and bulimia. It was this attachment that was the third poison referred to by Buddha and the seeds that were choked by weeds in Jesus’ parable of the Sower. There is a wonderful Old Testament story that gives wonderful insight into attachment. Remember Abraham and Isaac and when the angel instructed Abraham to sacrifice Isaac? That story wasn’t about sacrificing Isaac. It was regarding Abraham’s story about not being able to have a son and having to wait until he was 100 years of age before it happened. Isaac was perceived to be more precious in Abraham’s eyes because of his ‘infertility’ story. Sacrificing Isaac meant Abraham was prepared to let go of his story, and only then would he be able to fulfil his purpose of becoming the father of many nations.
Attachment and Purpose
It’s our attachment to our story that stops us from identifying and fulfilling our purpose. It’s our story that makes it impossible to live life in awareness. Evidence of our story is the imbalance in how we express ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Any dis-ease in these aspects of our consciousness reflects the way we engage our story. By becoming aware of your story and how it does or doesn’t serve you, puts you into a position to be more clear about what you value and to be conscious of your choices. Where attachment meets the demands of our story, purpose becomes the natural expression of awareness. In other words, our story keeps us both ignorant of and distanced from our purpose. Attachment is self-serving, awareness is other-serving while being self-loving. In the Beatitudes the ‘healthy’ appetite is described as a ‘hunger and thirst for righteousness (doing good)”.
Take a Moment to Consider
You may not be able to readily identify your story, but you will most likely be familiar with the things to which you are attached. The behaviours, beliefs and attitudes that you typically have tried to be free of on many occasions but which keep reappearing. Take a moment to imagine what your life would be if you were free of your attachments. And what would be your equivalent to the divine blessing given to Abraham. (Be the father of many nations). What are you prepared to do to have all that become a reality? The Enhances Awareness Program has a wonderful tool for helping you identify your story and how the be free of the constraints of your story.
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