“We cannot stop our heartbeat or our breathing but we can choose to stop eating and die, as many protest-fasters have demonstrated.” (G.  Sams, p. 208).

This is a highly curious point.  If you were to try to hold your breath to kill yourself, you will faint and your body will take over the steering wheel of your existence.  It will override your stewardship of this body in a kind of body-over-mind coup d’etat.  But if you decide to stop eating, your body is out of luck.  Sure, it will torment you with pangs of hunger but it cannot – without the assistance of your volition – move your hand to put food in its mouth.

Thus, eating (as well as drinking) is a kind of Rubicon of personal freedom.  Not only is the eating behavior within your control, it is also the very reins with which you steer this chariot of body.  How marvelous!  This seemingly out-of-control eating of yours is the very vehicle of mind’s domination over body.

If you choose not to fuel this vehicle of life, it dies.  Ponder this as you sit down to eat next time.  Allow yourself to fully appreciate the significance of this moment: the choice to eat is not the beginning of loss of control but the very proclamation of self-control. 

You are in charge of this hapless mass of matter.  You animate it with your decision to eat to live.  Allow yourself to experience the moment before eating as a proclamation of autonomy, as a moment of psycho-somatic sovereignty, as an assertion of self.

Related: Intimacy of Eating

[and remember to share your mindful eating moments at Mindful Eating Tracker or at least see what other eaters have to say about their experiences with mindful eating]

Girl eating salad photo available from Shutterstock.



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    Last reviewed: 21 Apr 2012

APA Reference
Somov, P. (2012). Autonomy of Eating. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 28, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/mindful-living/2012/04/autonomy-of-eating/


Select books by Pavel G. Somov, Ph.D.:
Mindful Emotional Eating Reinventing the Meal
Present Perfect
Eating the Moment

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