Sitting down and closing your eyes is just one way of practicing mindfulness. There are countless ways to train your attention and even within the category of meditation there are numerous techniques. The one I want to talk about today is eating meditation.
How do you eat?
I can tell you how I eat most of the time. I talk to friends, watch a movie or a video, or read a book. Maybe you also work while eating. That is not really good for our bodies as it reduces oxygen intake and leads to an increased number of free radicals which can have serious consequences for our bodies such as cancer.
I don’t want to tell you that you shouldn’t talk to your friends while eating, but I also say that to myself: Eat more mindfully!
It is also a waste of good food. I like eating but I rarely immerse myself in the full experience eating has to offer. And when I am hungry, I eat too quickly.
So how can we practice mindfulness while eating?
Firstly, sit down and feel the sensation inside you. Are you hungry? How does it feel? Then direct your attention towards the food. Imagine what it took that this meal ended up on your plate. How were the vegetables grown and harvested, who was involved making this meal, and so on.
Now, look at the colors and the shape. Smell the meal. Stay with those sensations for 20-30 seconds. When you take your first bite, feel the texture of the food. Is it hard, soft, hot, cold, solid or liquid? What else can you feel? Stay curious and discover =). How does the food taste? Individually and combined. Feel how your stomach is filled more and more and how your hunger diminishes.
Once you are done, have a look at the empty plate and observe how you feel now. Be grateful for the meal and for the people who made this meal possible.
You can do this even while being with friends. And you don’t need to do it for the whole meal. I can tell from experience that this way of eating is more fulfilling and brings more joy =).
Take care, Stephan