I tend to think much more while I eat. Of course I always tend to over-think about everything. I’m a writer.
I have always tried to be something else. In the past ten years I have tried stone collecting, bonsai tending and herb harvesting. I even attempted to be a yogis.
I never had any real success. I think the reason one writes is he can’t do anything else.
But while I failed to be the next Buddha, I came to read and appreciate his words. They are vivid, simple and practical.
So what did he have to say about the eating habit?
Before we adore the preserved pearl of wisdom, lets have a look at some ugly facts and figures about food situation around the world.
The total quantity of wasted food around the globe, 300 million tonnes, is more than the total net food production of Sub-Saharan Africa – more than enough to feed the estimated 900 million people hungry in the world.
Worldwide, one in every seven people go to bed hungry and more than 20,000 people die of hunger every day.
When you over-eat, chances are you get an over-weight. More energy and time will be lost to deal with the problem.
And for me there is the personal issue of over-thinking. I hate the monkey mind. As a writer I’m supposed to be an expert at thinking, but I know I’m far from it.
But the Buddha gave me a simple advice: when I eat, I just have to think about eating.
When I chew on a chicken bone, think, ‘I’m chewing’.
When the bone marrow tastes too good, think, ‘It tastes good’.
When I feel like I can’t have enough bone marrow in the world, think, ‘There is craving for sensual chewing!’
“In this way he remains focused internally on feelings in & of themselves, or externally on feelings in & of themselves, or both internally & externally on feelings in & of themselves. Or he remains focused on the phenomenon of origination with regard to feelings, on the phenomenon of passing away with regard to feelings, or on the phenomenon of origination & passing away with regard to feelings. Or his mindfulness that ‘There are feelings’ is maintained to the extent of knowledge & remembrance. And he remains independent, unsustained by (not clinging to) anything in the world. This is how a monk remains focused on feelings in & of themselves.
Why is it so important to control the feelings, instead of being controlled by them? The Buddha gave another teaching about the chains of existence, called Dependent Origination. There are twelve links of which feeling is a stubborn one. And it directly generates a ‘snaky’ link, that is craving.
“Now, craving is dependent on feeling, seeking is dependent on craving, acquisition is dependent on seeking, ascertainment is dependent on acquisition, desire and passion is dependent on ascertainment, attachment is dependent on desire and passion, possessiveness is dependent on attachment, stinginess is dependent on possessiveness, defensiveness is dependent on stinginess, and because of defensiveness, dependent on defensiveness, various evil, unskillful phenomena come into play: the taking up of sticks and knives; conflicts, quarrels, and disputes; accusations, divisive speech, and lies.
The Buddha is a genius. His theory is that there’s a war looming in a chicken soup.
I believe him. And my role is to spread that belief. Because I know most of you will be more suited to act upon his wisdom, and bring about real benefits to yourselves and the ever-hungry world.