Breath and hunger

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For me the contemplative practices have been a way to relax and think about myself in relation to the larger food system. While they have all given me something to think about, the one that had the most influence on me was the lesson 5 contemplative practice about feeling hunger. I, like many Americans have never been truly hungry. By this I mean I have never been in a situation where getting my next meal was uncertain. It may be something that we take for granted, but as we have learned, in many places of the world food security is a major problem.

Therefor going into this practice slightly hungry, as per the instructions, but certainly not desperate for food. I wondered what it must be like to not know where your next meal would come from and the stress and hardship that must bring. Then in the contemplative practice we did two breathing exercises to give us a feel for deeper hunger. The first one we exhaled and did not inhale for 10 seconds. During this exercise, I felt like I was more connected to my body, but didn’t get any insights into hunger. However, on the second round of this exercise we held our breath for longer. As the seconds ticked by and the desire to take a breath became a need to take a breath I feel like I caught a small glimpse of what it means to be truly hungry. Feeling like you no longer had a choice except to breath, may be similar to how it feels to need food. I can understand why so much conflict erupts around food insecurity, because it makes sense that people will do what they need to do to get food.

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