It’s like Sitting Meditation, but Yummier.
Eating is one of the most regular and dependable things that we already do in our daily life. Mindful eating, or Eating Meditation, is a great way to incorporate a regular dose of mindfulness into our everyday practice – at least three times a day! In eating meditation, we take the time to connect more deeply with the food we have before us. Whether it’s a snack, a drink, or a full meal, we slow down to see, taste, and recognize exactly what it is we are putting into our body. Looking deeply into our food, we become aware of the many conditions that have come together for the food to be on our plate. With this awareness, we water seeds of gratitude and compassion for the nourishment we are able to receive at the cost of much energy and hard work, and this awareness then also becomes a source of nourishment for us.
The Tortoise and the Hare
Slowing down is an important part of becoming more present during our meals. We give ourselves full permission to eat in a leisurely, attentive way instead of rushing through our meal to get it out of the way of “more important things.” When we give ourselves time to chew the food carefully and thoroughly, we can connect more deeply with the tastes and textures of our food, and become more aware of the nutriments that we are incorporating into our body. We also have the time to observe and embrace certain habit energies – did we put too much food on our plate? are we eating beyond what our body is needing? are our minds wandering towards the future or the past? are we using the food to nourish ourselves or are we using it to run away from our anxieties and suffering? As we touch old habit energies about our way of consuming, we are able to recognize and smile to them, and then gently set course for a healthier way of eating and living.
Setting aside time to be with ourselves as we enjoy a mindful meal is a wonderful way to lay claim to an oasis of peace in our daily lives. And it’s a practice we can share together with our friends and family, as well.
The Five Contemplations
1. This food is the gift of the whole universe – the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard and loving work.
2. May we eat and live in mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.
3. May we recognize and transform unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat with moderation.
4. May we keep our compassion alive by eating is such a way that we reduce the suffering of living beings, stops contributing to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet.
5. We accept this food in order to nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, strengthen our community of practice, and nourish our ideal of serving all living beings.