One of my favourite opportunities for meditation is eating. Like breathing, eating is something required of us every day; no matter how wrapped up in other things we get, we always need to set them aside to nourish our bodies and minds, which is why I choose these processes for the best meditation opportunities. They will be happening either way, so we might as well harness them for awareness.
I find eating meditation is best done alone, or in the presence of another who will also be practicing. This is for no other reason than if you’re sitting with someone who ISN’T practicing, they might get annoyed or confused with you for not listening to their fascinating stories(really, and then what happened at JC Penny?).
Whatever foods you choose, it doesn’t really matter, something you can enjoy and remain aware of. For this reason, something spicy might not be ideal, but if you’re really into spices and the awareness of it, be my guest.
Take a comfortable position, alone or with another, and turn your distractions to a minimum. Put your cellphone away, turn off the TV, and fold up the newspaper. Breathe. Look at your food, and smile at it. It’s important to show love to the very substance that will make up our own selves, our own body within a few short hours. Identify what the food is, and show it love.
Smell the food, feel it with your hands. Put your lips to the food, and notice its texture. Take another deep breath, and take a bite.
Slow down. Chew slowly, noticing the flavor, the texture and consistency. What is the temperature of the food? Become completely aware. Bring your entire awareness on your mouth, and the act of nourishing yourself. Close your eyes if it helps
Recognize the food as a gift from the Earth, aided by the Sun, and the rain, and the rest of the entire universe to come together to feed you. You are eating the food, and the entire universe conspired in order to bring this food to fruition, so at this very moment, the universe exists solely for you.
Finish chewing your bite into a fine paste, and swallow. With awareness, feel the bolus travel down your esophagus and into your stomach. Feel it nourish you from the inside, and have gratitude for the food.
This is all that needs to be done for this meditation. You can finish your entire meal this way, but it might take you longer than you expected, so a short lunch break at work may not be the best time to eat the entire meal like this.
Usually my first bite, and then the occasional bite throughout the meal, is enough to bring my awareness to the gratitude of having a nourishing meal. You can then check your text messages, or pull your book open again, but try to maintain some awareness throughout.
Your entire meal, in this moment, exists solely for you. Take a few moments to exists solely for your meal, and let it know it’s appreciated.