May 4, 2017
This morning I did something unusual for me. As I sat down with my breakfast of cottage cheese, toast, and coffee (all organic brands), I took a moment to close my eyes and visualize where all of it came from. I thought of the wheat growing, the cows pasturing, bees producing honey, arabica beans growing in the hot sun of Sumatra, and the green leaves of stevia plants, waiting to give up their sweetness. I pictured all the people, from farmers to transporters to factory workers to store workers, and was thankful for them. I batted away the uncomfortable flash of concern that anything dishonest or hurtful would have occurred along the way. I buy fair trade and try to support merchants who strive for ethical production along the whole chain, but the probability is there are some things in the process that may fall short of wholesome. But I accepted, without resigning to carelessness, even that possibility as part of how the abundance of food came to be sitting in front of me. I said a word of thankfulness out loud. And then, I savored the nourishment and satisfaction of my meal in a way that I have not done for far too long. It was a deep experience of gratitude that imbued the meal with satisfaction beyond the physical satiety.
There is a word for what it was. It was mindfulness, and mindfulness has become a growing area of study and wellness promotion, responding in part to the accumulating stresses of frenetic artificiality in our busy modern lives. We have become increasingly removed from the natural world, ourselves, and each other – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Many of us are disconnected through our mindless and uninterrupted consumption of everything. Obesity, epidemic diabetes and insulin resistance, depression, and other persisting diseases and chronic ailments are plaguing what is an otherwise advanced civilization. Shouldn’t advancing society mean healthier bodies and minds instead of the other way around? Progress seems to have come at a high and personal price, but the good news is that we have noticed and are retrieving time-honored knowledge and methods to address these trends.
According to the Harvard Health Letter, “Applied to eating, mindfulness includes noticing the colors, smells, flavors, and textures of your food; chewing slowly; getting rid of distractions like TV or reading; and learning to cope with guilt and anxiety about food.” It sounds so logical and I can imagine very few would not agree that this makes sense. But it is easier agreed to than done.
What I experienced this morning was truly wonderful and immediately produced a peaceful and optimistic space for me to plan the day’s business. So, I’m recommending you try it, too. There are a ton of resources available online. Just google “mindful eating” and you’ll be amply supplied with resources. One good place to start is this website of The Center for Mindful Eating – lots of good information and instruction modules.
“Taken slowly, or mindfully, even eating an orange or a bowl of soup, or a small piece of dark chocolate for that matter, can take on the flavor of prayer.” (Mary DeTurris Poust)
January 2, 2015
Being does involve remembering. Here’s an interesting piece on Alzheimer’s and ways that science is working to assist the brain to “re-receive,” so to speak, memories. It’s tempting to get sidetracked on the controversial Rupert Sheldrake theories of memory and the morphic field, but we’ll save that for a post or something at a later time. Just click here to read the article.
January 1, 2015
Being and relating well depend so much on our state of mind and body. Conventional wisdom on the role of stress is one of those “truths” that is flowing a new direction. This is worth hearing and knowing.