Chocolate: A Mindfulness Practice?
Learning to practice mindfulness means learning to notice. One of the key areas we practice mindfulness in recovery is learning to notice or emotional states and how we respond to them. Drugs and alcohol helped us avoid and ignore our authentic emotional experiences for a long time. At the slightest hint of an uncomfortable emotion, we turned to the substance we were most attached to. Intoxication was mind altering. Through recovery and mindfulness based practices we learn that our drugs and alcohol were symptoms of a human condition of avoiding. Before he became the Buddha, Siddhartha realized that all of life is suffering which is caused by attachment and craving. Without mindful meditation practice, everyone is prone to develop such dis-ease.
Mindlessness follows us in all areas of our lives, from spiritual matters to everyday matters like chocolate. Anything we consume must be consumed mindfully or else we are at risk for getting lost in our attachments, cravings, and desires. Chocolate is seen as a treat, an indulgence, and also a point of guilt. We deserve to eat chocolate, we need to eat chocolate, and we judge ourselves for eating chocolate. We turn to chocolate for celebration and we turn to chocolate for coping. Chocolate is a “trigger food” which inspires the empty craving of ‘more’. Craving is what turns pleasure into pain. Chocolate should be a pleasurable experience since it tastes so good and makes us feel so good. When we attach meaning, like avoidance or coping, to chocolate, it ceases to serve its true purpose, thereby causing us suffering.
One recent study found that chocolate can be truly enjoyed when eaten mindfully. The Food Network Blog reports that between two groups: one who mindfully ate a small portion of chocolate and one who could eat chocolate in a bigger quantity without mindfulness, mindful consumers enjoyed their chocolate more. Additionally, they had higher responses of more positive feelings.
Mindless overdoing was the story of our drinking and using. We were unable to stop as soon as we started and could not stop no matter how much we consumed.
Refuge Recovery Centers’ treatment programs incorporate nutritional counseling, practical food based life skills development, and mindfulness based practices in conjunction with proven therapeutic methods. Humbly offering a spiritual course for recovery, Refuge is founded in Buddhist philosophy and ethics. For more information, call or text us today at 323-207-0276.