Coaching the Senses: Freedom From Compulsions


Day after day challenges like combating off indulgence in junk meals and having the self-discipline to train often present loads of alternatives for engaged on our willpower, the significance of which I reviewed here. It is a key side of coaching our brains so we will dwell free from compulsions.

For that reason, Eknath Easwaran emphasised “coaching the senses” as one of many key disciplines for self-transformation [1]. That is one thing I’ve dabbled in for years, however I actually began taking it extra critically only some months in the past, as I reported again in February. I’ve actually emphasised it in the course of the Covid “shutdown”, which I’ve chosen to consider as a “retreat“.

And it has paid off. Throughout that point I’ve misplaced some cussed kilos and am again at what I think about my wholesome weight. However extra importantly, I’m largely freed from compulsive consuming. It’s nice to have the ability to eat wholesome more often than not, and have an occasional deal with after I select to, not when some interior voice compels me to. And it’s nice to have the ability to consider studying or different actions between meals with out that little voice whispering to me “how a couple of snack?”

I went for about 5 weeks after I began this the place I simply labored on ending compulsive consuming and didn’t fear concerning the scale. I deliberate 3 stable meals upfront, and emphasised wholesome meals however was beneficiant on parts and didn’t depend energy. An occasional dessert was additionally thrown in, but it surely needed to be preplanned. The exhausting and quick rule was I used to be not allowed to eat something not deliberate upfront. When tempted to interrupt that rule, I reminded myself that the purpose of this was freedom from compulsions, and I used the affirmation “no junk, no exceptions, no negotiations”. This brought on the little voice to change into loads weaker after a number of days, and weaker nonetheless after about 3 weeks.

The reason being it takes away all of its bargaining positions, not less than for me. The voice of rationalization at all times tries to place issues when it comes to weight reduction. So it could actually at all times have an excuse like “you went for an additional lengthy hike right this moment, absolutely only one piece of pie received’t harm”. But when the purpose is freedom from compulsion, that is irrelevant.

After about 5 weeks, the burden got here off, as a pleasing byproduct, and continued to take action till I hit my goal. However I can attest from my expertise up to now that the important thing to get this to work was to not fear about weight and emphasize “freedom from compulsion”.

That is all actually coaching the palate, a particular instance of coaching the senses, which for me is a very powerful. In yoga philosophy (e.g the Katha Upanishad) the excellence is made between actions which are pleasurable within the brief time period (preya in Sanskrit) and people which are useful in the long term (shreya). Dwelling in freedom is felt to require avoiding compulsive “attachments” to nice issues, and avoidance of disagreeable issues. I can not at all declare to have the ability to do that in all areas of my life, however success in a single essential space offers me the arrogance that I can do it in others if I put my thoughts to it.


  1. Easwaran, E, Passage Meditation, Nilgiri Press, 2016.