Have you every noticed that you have finished a meal or a snack and hardly spent anytime paying attention to what you have eaten? The television, computer screen, newspaper, children are always competing at our attention, but at what expense?
This is a very simple yet powerful meditation that really hits home for some in realizing how quickly and unknowingly we eat our food. Taking a snack that we usually eat rapidly without much awareness and suddenly taking the time to appreciate it’s texture, taste, and the deeper elements of time taken to create it, how far it has traveled etc. providing quite the profound effect for those of us living our modern lives.
What is very interesting is that a study recently published shows that a heightened awareness of what we are eating actually makes us eat less, helping combat obesity with weight loss – We are more aware of the food, amount of it and the signals our body is sending us.
At a conference I attended at the Rotman School of Business called “Social Innovation to Impact Change” one keynote speaker hit home with the statement that,
The speed at which our lives and the technology that we surround ourselves is growing is much faster than our ability to evolve to even use it.
Taking perspective on our own lives, it is safe to say that we all feel this way at one point or another, but what is a powerful by-product of this speed of modern life is the lack of self-awareness that provides us with the piece of mind that what we are doing feels right, gives us motivation, or even provides us with sensory pleasure as we are exploring here.
What I guide everyone into through the Modern Meditation program is an increased level of self-awareness, which is the essence of Meditation.
Reconnect with self-awareness and you reconnect with an overall sense of fulfillment.
So let’s get fulfilled – try out this simple meditation during your next meal. Remember to be playful and patient, and you can make it fun by bringing you partner or loved ones into the practice.
Prepare and Find Calm Serenity.
- As with all meditative practices set the stage for your practice and remove yourself from all distractions to fully appreciate this reconnect with self-awareness. Phones, laptops and any sensory distractions; turn them off while you settle into the space for exploring your senses. Be comfortable, dedicate this time for your self, and have a small meal or snack prepared for the practice.
Settle the Body, Breath and Mind
- The next step is setting your self up for the practice. Close yours and find a comfortable meditative position; hold a posture of dignity and poise – have your back straight and chin parallel to the floor, and shoulders in line with your spine. If you are seated then feet flat on the floor or if cross legged make sure to keep this proper posture. Relax your shoulders and allow your stomach to be fully relaxed and billow out – this will help keep the curve in your lower back. Connect with your breath taking deep inhales and exhales and allow your thoughts to flow freely for a few moments. Relax your body again and correct your posture before moving forward.
- Acknowledge the journey of this food you are about to eat. This is a very integral part of the practice, yet at time can be very difficult for some as the ego gets in the way. This is the space to take a few minutes and follow the journey from the hands that harvested the food (look at the label from where it was made), the care taken to prepare, package, and transport it, and finally the care placed in preparing and placing it on the dish before you. Feel a sense of gratitude and appreciation wash over you while you do this.
Explore the Senses
- Touch the food. If you are feeling adventurous then this is where you interact as we once did with our food and if you feel don’t feel like digging in with your hands then lightly grasp and appreciate the texture before it goes into your mouth and disappears.
- See the food with the newness of a child’s eyes. Bring a sense of innocence to the look of the food. The reason we do this is to bring us into a state where we are not judging anything, simply being watchful, witnessing the beauty, texture and color of the food.
- Smell the food. Allow yourself to fully take a few breaths in and out for about two minutes, and allow your mouth and body to react with anticipation towards the bite you will soon take.
- Taste the food with closed eyes. Very slowly place it on your tongue and allow your mouth to have its natural reaction to this new experience, and observe it for two minute before slowly chewing.
- Keep your eyes closed and provide the time for your experience to internalize. Appreciate the sense of increased self-awareness, an awareness and respect to the journey of this meal to the dish before you, the awareness to the texture, beauty, smell and taste of what you just ate.
This labeled “Mindfulness” Meditation technique should take no more than a few minutes longer than your regular meal, and will provide you with increased sensory pleasure and a boost in self-awareness.
I wonder, what meal would you try this out with?