Meditation Discussion Forum

Vipassana Meditation Forum => On The Net: Audio/Video => Resources & Library => Meditation in other contexts => Topic started by: Matthew on February 02, 2018, 11:55:20 AM

Title: Craving, science and practice
Post by: Matthew on February 02, 2018, 11:55:20 AM
This podcast from ABC Australia is worth a listen.
Title: Re: Craving, science and practice
Post by: Siddharth on February 02, 2018, 01:41:25 PM
Really insightful. The speaker's take on how being aware of and dealing with cravings through mindfulness can change interpersonal relationships really hit home.

Now I am wondering if I am actually writing this because i have something to say, or because of some craving to be active here !

also this book might offer some more insights into how habit loops work :
Title: Re: Craving, science and practice
Post by: pwinston on February 02, 2018, 03:25:34 PM
Thanks for posting the podcast. Very interesting and congenial guy.

This topic is close to my heart because food cravings are something I have not been able to address at all since starting meditation several years ago. I feel like I've made significant changes to my mind, but this just hasn't budged not even a small amount and that's very frustrating. Like it's something that just beyond my influence.

Although I have had some success giving up beverages and drinking only water, coffee and tea. I experience the cravings for soda or juice and I'm able to resist them. But food it just in another category, I just give in. I have tried his advice before about examining the craving with curiosity. But it feels like examining a charging rhino with curiosity, just does not slow it down.
Title: Re: Craving, science and practice
Post by: Matthew on February 02, 2018, 04:33:12 PM
pwinston, the central takeaway from his research is something you can use: bring expansive awareness and not closed awareness to bear on craving.
Title: Re: Craving, science and practice
Post by: Marshmallow on February 02, 2018, 07:14:39 PM
For me the trick with resisting food temptations is to eat a whole food diet. Processed food is highly addictive and almost like a drug in my opinion (it's engineered food, developed so we'll come back for more with just the right amount of each ingredient), especially junk food which is said to be as addictive as heroin. I believe it, because I stopped drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, drinking coffee and didn't have any trouble stopping any of these habits.... But when it comes to processed food it was a real challenge.

When processed food is not an option anymore and you make it clear in your mind that it's not, somehow it becomes easier. If it's an option, it's still a temptation. But also as you stop eating processed food, your tastes buds adapt to what you eat and you mostly lose your taste for it. I used to have an addiction to chips and would get strong cravings for it, now I can walk down the chips aisle without a problem.  :)

The whole food diet is also the diet found in old yoga books and in my opinion is very important for a spiritual path. Also research has recently found out that processed food damages our gut bacteria and is most probably the culprit for the obesity epidemic, as you can see in this documentary:

This website has good information on how to switch to a whole food diet, as well as good recipes:
Title: Re: Craving, science and practice
Post by: Frightful on February 03, 2018, 12:59:51 AM
Yeah....good podcast--thanks for the link, Matthew.

When they were discussing the expanded versus contracted states, it seemed to me to reflect what might be considered the non-judgmental versus repressive/judgmental situation within, the latter likely leading to a contraction or 'looping'.  The non-judgmental disposition allows one to sit and observe....with the 'curiosity' noted in the podcast....which is diametrically opposed to the typically judgmental mind chatter.  So maybe that's an element as well.

I guess I don't see too much difference between the use of the word 'craving' and 'addiction', although clearly one can experience craving(s) without being addicted to the substance or process that they crave.  As the researcher noted, it's when the cravings become problematic that perhaps one should take some form of action to rectify the situation.  What is interesting is the level of fear that you can see invoked a person when you even hint at possibly taking away their craving-loop/addiction, be it a digital device, an ingested form of self-soothing, or a process from working/shopping/gambling to sexual stimulation.  And I really liked how the meditation has helped me and those noted in the podcast to "de-fang" a lot of that fear when one sits non-judgmentally with the emotions driving these fears.  As for an "app" to reduce the craving to look at your apps... ???...hopefully they might start to work on a mnemonic or jingle that could be invoked in your head to remind you to be mindful when heading into an app-binge!  ;)

Title: Re: Craving, science and practice
Post by: Dharmic Tui on February 04, 2018, 07:32:59 PM
Thanks for the link Matthew.

The expansive vs closed awareness is something I become more aware of as my practice evolves. I liken it to being reactive vs. being responsive.

My ego is the reactive part, it's seeking pleasant responses to actions, thoughts and behaviours it deems potentially pleasurable. It is wanting the world to provide for me, and it's also a victim to the cards it believes the world is giving me. It cannot let go of apprehension, craving, fear and wanting. It is guarded, self involved, and self contained - it is closed.

The responsive side seeks nor expects anything, it is conscious active presence. To manifest it requires not thought nor strenuous effort, and instead a letting go and relaxing of the ego.

I have somewhat fooled myself into thinking awareness, expansiveness, or however you'd like to describe it, involves a mere observation of what is. My practice often devolves into me sitting there, getting lost in my own feelings of fear and despair, and hoping for a better form of presence. What seems evident to me recently is that it really does involve more of a consistent, conscious effort,  rather than being dragged down paths and expecting things to be right.
Title: Re: Craving, science and practice
Post by: brexit on February 09, 2018, 01:22:46 PM
Thanx for sharing :)