Author Topic: Meal timing / diet for calm meditation  (Read 128 times)

Sweetjaques

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Goenka
Meal timing / diet for calm meditation
« on: October 06, 2017, 08:36:26 AM »
Hi All -

Brand new here, so please forgive any faux pas! I searched for related topics but didn't find anything.

I'm wondering if anyone's had success with modifying their diet and meal schedule to optimise for meditation. I just finished my first Goenka 10-day training a few weeks ago, and not that I'm back home I'm finding myself very distractible, hard to find the flow. I'm solidly doing 1 hour in the morning, though it's hit and miss on how focused I feel; I'm trying to incorporate a 2nd hour in the evening, but it's difficult when i'm discouraged by a bad morning session since the afternoon is usually harder.

I found that I was fairly sensitive to changes in how much I ate at my training and have been contemplating the feasibility of changing my schedule/diet to closer fit what we were following there. Last night I just happened to skip dinner, preceded by a late vegetarian lunch, and this morning I found myself much calmer with the flow easier to find. I'll experiment a little with this in the coming days, but has anyone had success with modifying their diet? I want to keep close to the same amount of calories in my diet since I have a high metabolism and lost a bunch of weight during training, and honestly I love to cook and eat and don't want to have to totally skip meals if I don't have to. Vegetarian is optional, I tend to eat veggie anyone but I'm not moralistic about meat.

raushan

  • Staff
  • from India
    • S. N. Goenka
Re: Meal timing / diet for calm meditation
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2017, 02:56:11 PM »
Have'nt experimented with diet much yet. Try to eat veg mostly. Non veg sometimes.
Retreat centres are very conducive for the meditation. You may not experience same in the home as in the retreat immediately. But consistency is the key.

Alex

  • Member
Re: Meal timing / diet for calm meditation
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2017, 04:14:56 PM »
Hi Sweetjaques

So, you’re noticing different (living) conditions lead to different (meditation) experiences. Interesting…

Maybe you also noticed the tendency to evaluate meditation in terms of how focused you are? The desire for focused meditation and the aversion of unfocused meditation? And how this can lead to discouragement and avoidance?



Often after retreat I felt very ambitious in terms of increasing practice, changing diet. That was not always a good thing. Often I aimed too high and lost motivation after a few weeks.

Now I see how all this grows naturally over time. Building stable practice and condition (e.g. diet) supporting such a practice can take a long time dependent on your personal situation.

Regarding diet… I have quite a busy life and live with a non-vegetarian, so 50/50 vegetarian is realistic for me at this point in my life.
Regarding practice... I personally found it very good advice from meditation teacher to double my efforts after a retreat for 2 weeks: for example she said “if you do 20 minutes, do 40. If you sit in the morning, add evening session. And then see what sticks after the retreat-effect wears off.”

Kind regards
Alex

Sweetjaques

  • Member
  • Who are you?
    • Goenka
Re: Meal timing / diet for calm meditation
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2017, 07:21:35 AM »
Thank you both for the advice - the message here seems to be that patience and equanimity to the experience will see me through this difficult period. I've been trying to remain unreactive to how different it feels to sit at home versus at the center, but it's now been a couple weeks of my mind wandering either in daydream or a sleepy state without any sort of flow to my vipassana. Even anapana is difficult. Perhaps its similar to having a poor morning at a center followed by a successful afternoon, in terms of time scale, which was difficult but things would always get better - Annica. It just doesn't feel like I'm progressing in any way right now, which I'm unused to. But if this is just normal to the post-retreat experience then I'll try to double my efforts as you say and see what comes of it.

As for the diet, I'm still interested in how people changed theirs, if at all, to support their practice. I should specify that I'm more interested in the schedule rather than content of diet - at the centers we eat very early, fairly light meals, and no dinner at all.

dharma bum

  • Member
  • Certified Zen Master (second degree black belt)
    • vipassana
Re: Meal timing / diet for calm meditation
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2017, 06:33:04 PM »
personally, i've found it difficult to recreate the schedules and lifestyle in retreats. it's never worked for me.
Mostly ignorant

Alex

  • Member
Re: Meal timing / diet for calm meditation
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2017, 11:48:08 AM »
 
Perhaps its similar to having a poor morning at a center followed by a successful afternoon

Good meditator, bad meditator. I wonder. Who’s in control of this process?  ;)

As for the diet, I'm still interested in how people changed theirs, if at all, to support their practice. I should specify that I'm more interested in the schedule rather than content of diet - at the centers we eat very early, fairly light meals, and no dinner at all.

Meal times are flexibly set dependent on energy requirement, work and private schedules. I 'm not really concerned with how meals would influence meditation. I just sit with what's there.