Eating food is a great opportunity to practice mindfulness, especially since you already have to do it daily! Here are some quick ways to bring more awareness to eating:
- Put down your utensil. While you’re chewing, put down your fork, spoon, or chopsticks and don’t worry about loading up the next mouthful. (It’s a good idea to put your phone down as well!)
- Investigate your senses. Often folks will use a single piece of food like a raisin or a piece of chocolate as a mindful eating practice to investigate the flavor, texture, and full experience.
- Consider the source. Take a moment to reflect with gratitude about the time and energy that has been given to grow, harvest, and prepare the food. Thich Nhat Hanh’s community has a full set of reflections that they practice when eating together.
Want some more to chew on? Christopher Willard wrote a post for Mindful about more ways to practice mindful eating. If you’ve got Netflix and want to watch amazing shots of cooking, check out season 3, episode 1 of Chef’s Table—famous restauranteur (and meditator) Eric Ripert introduces Buddhist nun Jeong Kwan, who approaches cooking as a spiritual practice to get people to slow down and savor. A writer for the New York Times went to visit her and wrote about his experience, sharing how slowing down let’s you savor not just food, but all of life:
One day, after we have toured the temple, she leads me down to a small bridge that crosses over a creek. We stand on the bridge and she touches her hand to her ear. She wants me to listen. So we listen: She and I simply stand there by the water for a couple of minutes, listening to the sound of the current. Then she smiles—it really is like a ray of light, this smile—and points to the creek and utters a single word in English, as she looks into my eyes.
‘Orchestra,’ she says.