Light hunger has a “sweet spot”, a balance point where attention is sharpened well before actual pain. It can be practiced every day, like any other skill or physical activity. We learn to play the fabulous instrument – more complex than any man-made one – that is our body. A nature walk close to dawn and before eating, awareness plucked at its peak, will be more stimulating than any breakfast – though we will later enjoy that more too. It’s these quietly exhilarating moments that highlight the day, not the paroxysms of sensory overload or emotional indulgence.
Some will say such changes are “not practical” as if the disastrous trajectory of the conventional approach is. When we say such things we really mean we are wedded to our addictions and comforts; our divorce from them is literally inconceivable, such an action being almost the extinction of ourselves. In this only we are completely right; in ending habitual patterns of thought and behavior one literally becomes a new person.
The question of the sustainability of eating consciousness simply does not arise if it’s done in a balanced alive way. Indeed it’s the former way of unmeasured gobbling and the mental chaos that accompanies it that’s clearly seen as unsustainable. As sovereign beings we make the choice of alertness and well-being over a diseased set of sensations.
The general habit of mal-eating in society produces an inhospitable climate for health but an individual can easily create and thrive in a microclimate of their own, a personal bubble. In time it will be your former way of eating that will seem the anomaly. After all we wouldn’t consume a prescription drug without carefully measuring it out and checking side effects and foods are really no different; mild drugs affecting the body in ways still not fully understood. But there we go gobbling down vast amounts of these medicinals without thought of consequence.
A more modulated food intake may in turn help to bring balance to social relationships. Like a plant’s nutrients both interaction and aloneness are required by the individual in a ratio that it must discover as healthy for itself. The ideal being a state of connected independence, not friendless but without the yearning need for friendship. The very psychological need for another person makes us of less value to them.
While self-exploration is the base for well-being inter-personal interaction can be vital too both for learning and as an end in itself. Indeed the human brain likely evolved largely to better navigate the roiling ever-changing and dangerous social waters it found itself in. Relations with others can be unpredictable, challenging and usually more stimulating than time spent alone, giving us a chance to “raise our game” with more spontaneous and improvised thinking.
Nevertheless given space to observe it the inanity of much social interaction is undeniable. We seek reassurance in it but end up merely distracted. As distance and objectivity increase the thoughts and actions of others become more transparent but at the same time less comprehensible – in either case a dance we’re no longer so eager to join. Replacing quantity with quality we seek neither isolation nor a social maelstrom but a calm centered hub with a few solid communal spokes.
Eccentricity which literally means off-center is what we usually call activity free of societal conventions, at least when looking on from the outside. However the “eccentric” ones may not feel askew or adrift at all. Indeed to be aligned internally rather than from society custom is to be more centered than ever before, a still core that tends to draw others in. We deeply realize that what is conventional is subjective, transient and often imposed by a framework of fears.