This past weekend I went to a Krishna Das workshop and had the opportunity to chat with him afterwards.
The kirtan vocalist and spiritual teacher spoke in his workshop about showing up to life, being present with our experience, and not tuning out. He reminded us there is no escape from life, and trying to escape through addiction only makes things worse.
He talked about how a lot of addiction is fueled by a sense of hopelessness, a belief that nothing will ever change. Resigning ourselves to continue to do what we’re doing even though it only offers us a momentary sense of relief.
As you may know, I have been on my own journey of “waking up” from the numbness that emotional eating provides. However, as much as I like to think I am “healed,” I still find elaborate, substitute methods to escape reality!
In fact, I have even found myself using meditation and “being present” as a way to escape the discomfort of truly being with myself. Ha!
I brought this up in my chat with Krishna Das after the workshop. He told me three things:
1. The motivation behind what you do is more important than what you do
It doesn’t matter if we’re bingeing, meditating, or doing community service. Being honest with ourselves about WHY we’re doing what we’re doing has the largest karmic impact.
As it relates to emotional eating: a single bite can be a binge if fueled by the desire to want to escape how we feel. Similarly, a transporting kirtan, psychedelic ayahuasca ceremony or relaxing meditation can serve the same purpose.
On another note, many of us in the spiritual and self-help communities are motivated to “work on ourselves” because we believe there is something inherently wrong with us and we need to be “fixed.”
Similarly, the reason we emotionally eat in the first place is because we’re restricting ourselves, and this is largely due to a belief that we’re not good enough, attractive enough, thin enough… and we need to be “fixed.”
Taking note of the reasoning behind why we do what we do is paramount to any endeavor, including spiritual practice… AND how we relate to food.
2. Having awareness of your motivation gives you space from it so that you are no longer in its grip
Simply noticing what we’re doing separates us from the part of us that’s doing it, and puts us in touch with the part that is noticing.
Cultivating our connection to the part that simply notices without judgment, strengthens our ability to show up moment-to-moment and make new, more self-loving choices.
3. Be gentle with yourself as you continue to broaden your awareness
As my cousin and coach Shea Adelson recently put it, "every human has a sophisticated coping strategy with being human." And we need to give ourselves a break.
Anything can be used to get out of being real with ourselves. No matter what we use—food, technology, or even our spiritual practice—we must be sweet to ourselves as we expand our awareness and bring ourselves back to the truth.
It’s through being kind and gentle to ourselves, through treating ourselves as if we were a 6-year-old version of ourselves, that we create more space for non-judgmental, compassionate awareness—the place from which we make positive change. It’s through loving ourselves and showing up to our lives, moment to moment, that we grow towards the light.
Want to learn more about how being kind and gentle to yourself can transform your relationship with food and your body? Let’s chat!