Tuesday, July 19, 2016

To breathe or not to breathe



Surely we must breathe.  It is one of the most basic, automatic things we do.  And if we don't, we die, right?

Surely we must eat.  Again, same words.  But what is really true about either statement?

We don't need to breathe all the time.  Just take a look at this beautiful and peaceful dance between a freediver and a whale shark.  So much time without a breathe.  We can train our minds and our bodies.  And then we can be somewhat more in charge of who we are and how we are.

And what about eating?  Well I'm doing a bit of an experiment lately.  Been doing it for a little under a month.  It's called intermittent fasting (IF).  And basically, it means not eating for the majority of the day.  Or alternatively, eating during a relatively short period of time during the day.  Perhaps a 6 hour window to eat, and 18 hours not eating.

It's just another form of fasting.  Something that has been done for millennia -- both borne of necessity, and of choice, often associated with spirituality.

I'm not drawing any conclusions so far; the experiment will continue for the foreseeable future.  Except two things.  First, when I don't eat in the morning, I'm no longer hungry either.  I'll either drink water and/or black coffee.  I really enjoy how it makes me feel.  Second, I am as a result, much more mindful about whether I need to eat due to hunger (or other conditioned signals).  Much more so that I was before.  I think this is perhaps the greatest benefit.

I'm sure I am eating less each day than if I was not IF, so that will contribute to some weight loss, but so far, nothing dramatic.  Maybe 5 lbs over 3 weeks.  But maybe you have heard the term:  Hara Hachi Bu.  It's what the Japanese call eating until you are 80% full.  Still a little hungry.  Not stuffed to the gills ;-)

It is the place I think I want to be.  This little article has a quick summary on it:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/irene-rubaumkeller-/not-overeating_b_969910.html

So anyways.  We must breathe, but we can control those conditions for when we breathe, how frequently, and how long in between breaths we want to go.  And the same is true for eating as well.  Who would have thought you could learn that from a video of a lean freediver and a whaleshark ;-)

Enjoy more by doing less.  Namaste.

2 comments:

Pat said...

Ah, the pursuit of minimalism in yet another context. I agree with you about not eating breakfast. Often am not hungry until noon, and am quite content to let my body, rather than the clock, determine when I shall eat.
But more importantly, I'm happy to see you writing again. Try not to be too minimalist about that activity, eh?

Steven Crisp said...

Hi Pat, good to hear from you.

It's funny you should mention minimalism in your comment, as we are in the midst of an avalanche of "stuff" having now returned home from 8 years away. And it includes those sometimes precious goodies from our deceased parents.

Talk about the opposite of minimalism ;-)

Well it will be an interesting process, I am sure. I'm envisioning the Buddhist monk with nothing but his begging bowl and one or two robes. The contrast is stunning. Even just the young millennials who wish to feel free to move from place to place could not find refuge here. (Interestingly, quite a few boxes are for stuff that belong to our "minimalist" children.)

Yes, I believe this will be a new journey for us. Maybe without the existential questions that a spiritual quest entails, but I think with just about the same amount of angst ;-)

Thanks for the visit, and the motivation to keep on keeping on.