There is a concept within Tibetan Buddhism that every person has three levels of being: the inner, outer and the secret being. The outer being refers to the physical self, the body. The inner being is the thinking mind which includes the ego, self-identify, feelings, and memories etc. The secret being is considered the essential core of who we are, our Spirit. One of the goals of a meditation practice is to integrate these three beings, allowing them to operate cooperatively so that we can live more fully.
When we are consumed by weight loss obsession and body rejection there is no way for us have our full being acting in alignment to serve our best interest; we are constantly fragmented. Our inner beings act as both a source of pride and of pain. We rely heavily on our personality, intellect, wit and creativity to compensate for the body that we are ashamed of. It is also this inner being; our mind, that perpetuates the false stories and obsessive thoughts about how much better life could be if we looked differently. Our outer being, our bodies, are primarily viewed as an impediment; convinced on some level that how they look is keeping us from our potential; from deserving love, from gaining full acceptance from others, from being free. Therefore we usually only relate to our bodies on either a practical or a manipulative level, serving a function or coerceing them through diet and exercise into something more acceptable. When we are really embroiled in the obsession with losing weight our secret being, the beauty of our Spirit, is buried beneath a heavy load of disappointment and self-loathing.
Practicing presence can shift all of that. Through taking the Deeper Cravings journey I have come to view my body, mind and spirit like three strands in the braid of my being; separate parts, but inextricably interwoven. When I practice mindfulness I can recognize and compassionately interpret the activity of the inner being and sift through some of the garbage that inevitably makes its way in. I can connect with and have gratitude for the outer being, my body and recognize that, no matter what it weighs, it truly is the only vehicle to experiencing everything wonderful in this life. Then, when I am connected, I learn that the secret being, that deeper wiser me, is there waiting beneath the layers, readily accessible when I still myself enough to reach it.
Great article Peggy. Keep up the good work.