The epic battle enacted under the guise of the battle of the bulge is the struggle between the ego, that negative chatterbox in our heads, and Essence, the spark of divinity within each of us. It’s the suffering caused by this battle that moves us to break free from our unconscious patterns and conditioning and instead live in our natural state of Essence. In this state, we experience the peace and joy available in each moment and that can never be taken from us. This is the battle: resistance versus acceptance; the ego versus Essence; self-delusion versus the evolutionary impulse for Truth; the ego’s small sliver of truth about food and the body rather than the whole picture.
In our struggles with overweight, the ego in the form of the Relentless Critic is the judgmental voice inside our head, berating the way our body looks, telling us: “You’re too fat.” “Your legs are too skinny.” “You’re out of shape.” “You’ll never attract the kind of relationship you want unless you get into better shape.”
When it comes to food, the ego, in the form of the Pleasure-Seeking Child, causes us to gain weight by telling us things like: “You’ve been working so hard and deserve a slice or two or three of cheesecake.” “You should live a little and give yourself a treat.” “Eating a bit more won’t hurt even though you’re already full.” “You’ve had a lousy day, so why not make yourself feel better with a little Pleasure Food?” “Indulge now and worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.”
Now that we’ve seen the villain in our story, it’s time to meet our hero. Essence is our true self, what we were before we started listening to and believing in the ego. It’s that internal place of calm and serenity that we’ve all visited in moments when the mind is quiet. Think back to a time when you’ve felt completely at peace. That delicious feeling is Essence. Even though we may not be aware of this consciously, each of us touches into it every day!
Connecting with Essence means entering the thought-free state. Although meditation is the most common way to move out of the mind, it can happen anywhere, anytime, as long as we’re not caught up in thoughts or feelings. We can be noticing the clock on the wall, the leaf floating in the breeze, or our hand as we turn the page.
Any information that comes to us from the senses, unfiltered by thoughts, takes us to Essence. If we are to break the habit of listening to the negative mind, the habit that’s responsible for our food issues, we have to cultivate a new habit of moving into the thought-free state, ideally for at least 10-15 minutes every day.