In the Mindful Eating-Conscious Living program we distinguish nine different aspects of hunger. Cell hunger perception is considered to be a primary skill to help nourish ourselves according to our body’s true needs. Yet, since we are used to putting our attention to the outer world mostly, like seeing and hearing our environment, it can appear as a big challenge to “know” what is actually going on inside our bodies if one is new to mindful eating. And, as experience shows, just as we learn to deepen our own mindfulness practice, we can attune more and more to perceiving our needs based on the body and live in alignment to those. The question is what is of best support for each person, individually.
You are a miracle
For me the final breakthrough to cell hunger came with becoming fully aware of the fact that the body I live in is a miracle. Do you know you are a miracle? How else could I describe everything I know about how I was conceived and how this body developed from then on. My life, and also your life, started with two cells melting to one.
Please, take a moment now and become fully aware that what you call your body consists of about 40 trillion single cells. Yet they are not solitary, they form a well-connected community with different tissues and organs, performing every second of your life. And each single cell knows exactly what it has to do to survive. That means that each single cell holds the full information of life. This mere realization strikes me with awe and reverence. The more scientific facts I know about the cell and its functions the more I realize I know nothing.
What can I trust?
From a place inside myself where my mind gives up trying to grasp the complexity of cell life, I started asking myself “Can I trust? Do I really trust the intelligence of life?” And it is after I decided that I do trust the gates to cell hunger that perception opened. And the more I give up control and the fuller I trust the more wisdom emerges from within. For me, cell hunger cannot be grasped by thinking. So how do I access it?
In my moment to moment experience it becomes tangible as a felt sense in my entire body that becomes clearer if I decide to really attune to it with open curiosity. I must be ready to be surprised since it seems that the cells’ needs change constantly. Even if it’s not a clear yes or no to a food I offer to my cells, it might be a tendency towards something that becomes more established after putting some effort in coming back and checking in with the cells again and again.
I can support the felt sense in my body by offering stimuli to the other senses like smelling, seeing, tasting and touching. This makes perfect sense because the organs at work are cells, too. And it is patience I need. I go best by pausing, taking time, opening awareness to the entire complexity of body sensations and inviting and welcoming information to arise. Also, imagining eating something in particular helps me as well.
Gratitude for our cells
Yet there is one thing that helps me most in perceiving the cells’ hunger: It is the connection to my heart and gratitude. It is the fascination about and acknowledgment of this body’s intelligence and how life and existential powers move through it that make me love each individual cell. And it seems to me that if cells feel truly loved and appreciated, they become very generous with revealing of what they need.
Cell hunger perception is connecting to life itself, within ourselves and to life in foods. For me, it simply breaks down to decide whether I can honor the life that is there anyway. It is a decision I need to make again and again so it becomes a path and more – it becomes a place to not only eat but also to live from.
How about you? What helps you accessing cell hunger?
Ewgenia Roth, Germany
Photo credits: https://unsplash.com/photo/gKUC4TMhOiY; https://unsplash.com/photos/0aMMMUjiiEQ; https://unsplash.com/photos/0Pf7fKRtDPI