We’ve all heard the old adage that “you are what you eat.” And while there is merit in this saying - that is, what we eat does largely affect us - it isn’t quite comprehensive enough to fully describe how we are impacted by that which we consume. Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh once said, “We are what we consume. If we look deeply into the items that we consume every day, we will come to know our own nature very well.” It is with this quote in mind that we can begin to examine what we consume - through all of our senses, not just our meals - in order to see how each item affects us.
Truly, we consume through each sense. What we see, hear, smell, taste, and feel - physically as well as energetically and emotionally - is taken in and, in some way, digested by the body and mind. Some of these things are truly nourishing. Some are purely waste. And some, though undesirable, are nevertheless unavoidable. It is therefore up to us to determine where each item falls on the spectrum and then to adjust accordingly. Our goal should be to align our consumption with what we truly feel best serves us.
Let me give you an example. I used to read the news everyday. In my mind, it was the civically responsible thing to do. However, it was quite apparent that I was energetically drained every time I read the news - an effect that rippled out into my day’s interactions and thought processes. So I decided to conduct an experiment: to stop reading the news. As it turned out, I was still easily kept informed by conversations with people around me, and anytime I felt the desire to dig deeper on my own, I was welcome to. But because reading the news was no longer a part of my daily habit, I felt myself grow significantly lighter.
So here is my challenge to you: document everything you take in across a couple of days, and then record how it impacts your energy. You might use the following table as an aid:
I suggest doing this for a couple days (up to a week) so that you can really see patterns emerge. There are certain things that you may only do on the weekend, for example, that you’d otherwise miss out on evaluating should you reflect on too short of a time frame.
Ultimately, your purpose here is to discern which items negatively impact you that are also unnecessary. For example, if you look back to the sample table above you’ll note “reading the news” and “conversation with Becky” both had a negative impact. Since both of these items represent things that can be changed (respectively, personal routine and personal relationships), then they might be items I work toward eliminating in my life.
However, you’ll also note “meeting at work” had a negative impact. Since meetings are rather unavoidable, I cannot eliminate that item entirely, but can instead work on finding strategies to deal with meetings more contentedly.
We aren’t trying to avoid all discomfort here, but rather to notice which discomforts are entirely unnecessary and therefore pointless.
All in all, this can truly be an effective way to remind yourself of all you take in: conversations, music, TV, books, social interactions, foods, drinks, activities, etc… it all impacts the mind-body system and therefore deserves to be reflected upon.
Brooke is a contributing author for Tada Rugs. Tada Rugs is a 5x7 yoga mat disguised as an artistic area rug that you never have to put away. Tada is short for tadasana, or mountain pose, and our own backyard in the San Juan Mountains of Durango, Colorado is where we find our inspiration. Check out our new designs, enter for a chance to win a new Tada Rug, and be sure to follow us for deals and insider specials! Like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, or contact us through our website! Tie a room together and bring your practice home.
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