Monday, October 15, 2007

Daily Dharma: Mindful Eating

Today's Daily Dharma is a great lesson on presence. So many of us eat on the run, in the car, in front of the TV or computer. How many of us actually stop everything else and simply be present to what we are eating? How much more healthy might we be if we slowed down? I suspect that most of us would have far less problems with overeating if we slowed to eat mindfully.

Mindful Eating

When I was four years old, my mother used to bring me a cookie every time she came home from the market. I always went to the front yard and took my time eating it, sometimes half an hour or forty-five minutes for one cookie. I would take a small bite and look up at the sky. Then I would touch the dog with my feet and take another small bite. I just enjoyed being there, with the sky, the earth, the bamboo thickets, the cat, the dog, the flowers. I was able to do that because I did not have much to worry about. I did not think of the future, I did not regret the past. I was entirely in the present moment, with my cookie, the dog, the bamboo thickets, the cat, and everything. It is possible to eat our meals as slowly and joyfully as I ate the cookie of my childhood. Maybe you have the impression that you have lost the cookie of your childhood, but I am sure it is still there, somewhere in your heart. Everything is still there, and if you really want it, you can find it. Eating mindfully is a most important practice of meditation.

~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step; from Everyday Mind, edited by Jean Smith, a Tricycle book

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