In our modern world, we tend to fill up our lives with continuous conversations and simultaneous activities. When we get a free moment, we reach over to check the phone. We go online to look up something, and decide to spend time on a social networking site. We sit down at the table to eat, and pick up a book to read or switch the TV on.
We are here and in the now, but never really in the ‘here’ and ‘now’. We are elsewhere – the mind is planning for the next meeting, the next problem, the next day, the next year. We see a lovely tree with summer blooms and immediately click a picture and upload it to our Facebook page. We’re doing this instead of savoring the colors of the tree, the breeze, and the feeling of being in the ‘now’ in the moment. Because we are never really in the ‘now’, we often fail to see what a blessing it is. The sight of the lovely tree on a stressful day is a chance for us to take a break and connect to things bigger than us.
Similarly, the food on our table is a way for us to consciously take in nourishment to help us do the things we want to do. Instead, many of us often make a face at the dish we don’t like. It’s so easy to belittle something that is on a plate before you, and forget the effort that has gone to create it. Not only of that person who cooked it, but of all the chain of people involved in the process from sowing the seed to buying it from the store. Several hands worked hard to get that food in front of you – isn’t that amazing to consider?
Instead of switching on the TV when food is before you, or going on your phone, or picking up a book, try instead to pause and focus on the here and now. Once you are firmly in the moment, take a bite, and let yourself really pay attention to your actions and what you are eating.
We may discover flavors that we have never noticed before. We might even notice that the food tastes better today! Some of us might find that our inattentiveness has actually been making our food taste bad, or even making the food work against the body. Many of us will start acknowledging that some of our food habits are not wellness-friendly, and make changes in the food we eat, and in the way we eat it.
Saying thanks or a quick prayer before a meal makes so much more sense now, doesn’t it? It helps you come into the moment and appreciate the food before you!
Welcome to mindful eating!