Sitting anywhere and noticing things can be a meditation. Of late, I’ve been really noticing a relationship between my body and my underweight-ness. I’ve always been a bit underweight for my height and it’s something that’s affected me throughout my life. So, as a mindful experiment lately, I’ve been sitting and noticing what happens to my body, sometimes when I’m eating, and sometimes when I’m not.
When I’m eating, I’m beginning to notice a series of anxious habits. I notice between each mouthful that my left hand wants to rub two fingers together, perhaps cleaning a bit of crumb or food if I’ve used that hand; or sometimes even when I haven’t even been using that hand for food. I notice I eat somewhat hurriedly too; not really taking the time to swallow before diving in to the next bit of food. I notice as well my eyes are furtive, looking around me while I’m eating, as if being caught out, as if eating food was a ‘bad’ thing and I’m about to be punished.
I also notice, when sitting and not eating, how much my body moves subconsciously. My foot taps incessantly on the ground. My hands are constantly moving too, from lap, to side, to lap again. They struggle to sit still. There’s fidgeting happening.
Beneath the skin, I feel my heart beating quite fast, especially in food situations with other people. There seems to be a constant anxiety in me, that, until I sat and started focusing on these things, I was completely unaware of.
Maybe these occurrences are a sign of why I’m underweight. Lots of energy is leaving me straight away with all this movement and anxious energy. It’s a wonder to me to begin to notice things now, with my increased awareness and concentration. This awareness notices when I fidget, so I stop. This awareness notices the hand movements, so I concentrate more on keeping them still in one place. I note the ground under my feet and note when I start tapping my foot. I stop, reclaiming the ground.
I wonder if, after time, my weight will increase. It’ll be an interesting experiment. I’m eating a bit more, noticing when I get hungry sooner and that encourages me to find something to eat.
I believe a lot of my past experience with food has created these habits within my body. Eating used to be a difficult experience for me, as I was fussy over food, and sometimes was forced to eat food I didn’t want, or to eat it differently, and certainly not to create any mess. I had thought I’d resolved most of this, but here we are, still underweight, still furtive.
This, for me, is another amazing example of what mindfulness can do for us. The more we notice what we’re doing, even subsconsciously, the more likely we are to change habits of a lifetime and become more safe in our presence. I believe this can fundamentally transform our lives and the lives of everyone we encounter in our life.