Mindful pleasures

Mindful pleasures

A short meditation on mindful eating. By Jill Lawson

Eating is one of life’s most pleasurable activities, and for a good reason. If we did not eat, we would not survive. It’s no wonder eating, sleeping, and making love top the list of most pleasurable things humans do; they are all necessary for our survival as a species.

Although sometimes we get carried away and overdo such actions. While eating is crucial to staying alive, too much food can hasten our demise.

If you have formed a habit of eating beyond a healthy limit, keep reading. Perhaps you’ve been overloading your dinner plate, bingeing during the holidays, or overeating while stressed. Practice the following meditation on mindful eating and let yourself return to balance.

Do it now
Take the time to practice this meditation a few minutes before eating a meal or a snack. To begin, inhale deeply and exhale while silently repeating the mantra: “I am grateful for this food.”

Look closely at what you are about to eat. Imagine the steps it took to get from its origination to your plate. Ask yourself who or what was involved in bringing you this lovely meal. Did farmers tend to it? Did a truck deliver it? Did a group of people assemble it? Become aware of the effort and energy required to provide you with it.

Before you take a bite, close your eyes and smell your food. What scents can you detect? Do you smell sweet? Pungent? Spicy? Can you imagine tasting what you smell? Savour this moment.

Now, keep that first bite in your mouth a little longer than usual. Let your food roll around your tongue. Allow some extra time for each taste bud to come in contact with your food. Notice subtleties of your first bite, such as its texture and temperature.

Continue each bite with heightened awareness. See if you can taste or notice something new or different in every bite to follow.

On your last bite, pay attention to the action of swallowing. Notice how your tongue works to pass your food into your oesophagus. During this bite, silently repeat the mantra: “I am grateful to have eaten.”

Take several deep breaths and honour the pleasure of nourishing your mind and body.

When we slow down and savour pleasurable activities, we can more easily refrain from overdoing them. Too much of a good thing is never a good thing. Practice mindfulness and discover how you can relish in whatever life-sustaining pleasure you desire without going overboard.

Jill Lawson is a writer and yoga teacher enjoying life on the island of Maui in Hawaii (jilllawson.net)

Om Magazine

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