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Rediscovering ‘eating’

Recently, I got interested in mindfulness. As per Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, ‘To be mindful of something is to recognize that something is there in the present moment. Mindfulness is the capacity of being aware of what is going on in the present moment.’

As I am traveling along my newly carved path of mindfulness, I realize that my brain has a mind of its own. It has good, bad and lazy moods, which could be dependent or independent of external circumstances. I remind myself to be in the present moment while doing simple activities such as washing dishes or folding clothes. I am successful in being the present moment for a few seconds, before my brain races into the future or quietly slips away into the past. The natural state of mind is to worry about the future or feel sad about the glorious past, so the present moment always slips away.

One of the most difficult exercises in mindfulness is to be mindful when I am eating. We are so used to eating while reading or watching TV or browsing something on the phone or tablet. We mindlessly put ‘something’ into our mouth, chew it partially and swallow, with our eyes on something else. In a way, we disrespect the food we eat. Thich Nhat Hahn explains how we are connected to the universe through a single piece of bread:

‘When I hold a piece of bread, I look at it, and sometimes I smile at it. The piece of bread is an ambassador of the cosmos offering nourishment and support. Looking deeply into the piece of bread, I see the sunshine, the clouds, the great earth. Without the sunshine, no wheat can grow. Without the clouds, there is no rain for the wheat to grow. Without the great earth, nothing can grow. That is why the piece of bread that I hold in my hand is a wonder of life. It is there for all of us. We have to be there for it.’

Yes, having food on your table is a ‘miracle’. It happens at least┬áthree times a day and we are completely unaware of this wonder. Whenever I remember to eat food mindfully, I first give thanks for the items on my plate, eat while looking at the food, chew it, taste it and swallow it. The food that nourishes our body and supports our existence on this earth should not be taken for granted. Let’s rediscover ‘eating’ and give food the respect it deserves.

Happy mindful eating!


Quote for this post: Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more – Mother Teresa


Featured image from wuestenigel Flickr via Compfight cc

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