Off and on I am reading Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book Excuses Begone!  One fascinating piece of this books talks about memes (rhymes with ‘seems’).  A meme is “a thought, belief, or attitude in your mind that can spread to and from other people’s minds.”  In other words, memes are the entrenched thoughts and behavioral characteristics of your personality. And Dr. Dyer and I also agree that “memes die hard because they’ve become who you think you are.”

So when I turn to a piece of organic cheese to fulfill my hunger quickly, or hunger for something enjoyable to taste, or hunger to relieve some underlying anxiety–that is a meme. It is a comfort food.

What does that mean exactly?  I understand the history:  I made the decision at age four to not eat meat.  This happened because of my deep relationship with my dog (born at the same time as I was), and my extension of that love to all creatures, including ants and spiders.  At age four, through an experience that I still remember today, I became consciously aware that meat is the bodies of animals.  And with a determination that far exceeded the mind of a four year old child, I absolutely could not and would not eat meat. My family had no reference for this type of behavior, being of the “meat and potatoes” blue-collar working type family  So for the next eight years, token pieces of meat appeared on my plate at every dinner, and consequently disappeared under the table into the mouth of my beloved dog.

As a result of my unusual eating history, I have had a strong reliance on veggies, fruit, grains, and…..most definitely….cheese.  The meme of cheese meant many things to me; It was comforting, tasty, and probably somewhere inside my body it provided protein.

Now flash forward several decades of living as a healthy vegetarian, knowing how to cook hundreds of delicious and life-giving dishes.  Understanding that my protein comes from ALL food sources.  And educated enough to know that if my diet is going to include some dairy, it needs to be organic–for ethical and healthful reasons.  Still I find myself responding to the little (organic) cheese meme as I grab a slice from the refrigerator while making my deliciously healthy meal.  Fascinating!!

Another teacher I like to hear from is Osho, who says in so many ways that the way to move out of habitual mind is to become conscious within the pattern while it is happening.  OK, that makes sense.  So I  come into awareness of the hand on the cheese, the popping of it into my mouth, the taste buds waking up to the flavor and texture.  And sometimes I can love it all!  Love it and know that it is okay to enjoy it.  And it is okay to let it go too.  Learning happens at every moment because AWARENESS is possible at every moment!

Stepping off the meme machine

means leaning away

from what seems to be

and leaning into what is to be

if you let it be

your reality!