*If you haven’t read Meditation for Eating Disorder Recovery then I’d recommend you start there.
Meditation is powerful in healing your relationship with food because:
- It helps you connect to your inner world (including your appetite)
- It reduces anxiety around food by teaching you how to be present
- It helps you separate disordered eating thoughts from your true self
- It teaches you how to be compassionate towards yourself and others
Just a Passing Cloud Meditation is a beautiful meditation for beginners because it teaches you how to sit with thoughts and feelings without acting on them or numbing them. For example, if you struggle with thoughts that tell you you are ‘fat’ or ‘worthless’ and you usually act on those thoughts by binge eating or over-exercising or skipping a meal, meditation will help you to sit with these thoughts without doing anything about them because you know they will pass all on their own.
With practice you will be able to feel whatever fear or urge you feel without feeling you need to do anything about it because you know, just like a cloud, it will pass all on its own. You will learn to simply notice it, accept it, and let it go.
This meditation is inspired by the words of Buddhist teacher, Pema Chodran:
‘You are the sky. Everything else – it’s just the weather.’
Reading this one sentence was life-changing for me. It gave me a whole new perspective on who I was (my values and passions) and what I wasn’t (my thoughts, fears, urges, eating disorder…). And this meditation will hopefully help you find this new perspective too. Remember to be patient with yourself as you learn to meditate. Remember it’s a process. Remember that your mind will wander. Remember that you will get sucked into your thoughts. Remember that you might not feel the benefits immediately. But, in a year from now, when you reflect on how your relationship to food, your body, and your life is no longer ruled by fear, you will be so grateful that you made the effort to meditate.
Aim to practice daily if you can. Begin for just a couple of minutes, and build it up to 20 minutes over time.
Start in a comfortable seated position and allow your awareness to settle on your natural breathing rhythm. Now visualise the sky – crystal clear, bright blue, vast and endless. Imagine that this sky, full of brightness and beauty, is you.
Now allow anything you’ve been suppressing to come to mind – emotions, situations, challenges. Visualise these difficulties as clouds in the sky. They might be big angry looking grey clouds or small white fluffy ones.
Focus on one of these clouds at a time, and as you do, allow yourself to feel whatever arises without justifying it or getting caught up in the story line. Now visualise a gentle breeze blowing this cloud across the sky until it disappears. Do the same with all the other clouds in your sky – identify the thought or fear or feeling… feel the energy of the emotion… and then allow it pass… until all you are left with is a clear blue sky.
Let me know how you get on in the comments. And you can find more meditations in my book Thrive Through Yoga: a 21-Day Journey to Ease Anxiety, Love Your Body and Feel More Alive.