I have just returned from a 10 day silent mindful meditation retreat. Many things became clear and one of these involved how we nourish ourselves.
So much beauty and learning that I will share, but for the moment, I give an insight into mindful eating practice.
At the retreat, we had open access to bountiful arrays of food. It 10 days of a huge buffet table for each of the three meals. For the first two days, I ate because it was there, because it looked and tasted delicious, I didn’t think of the amounts I consumed or my hunger or satiation of hunger. Looking back I was like a kid in a candy store, with no restraints or thoughts of consequences. And, I was aware that I felt too full after each meal.
By day three and many hours of sitting and walking meditation, I began to identify my thoughts, allowing these thoughts and resting in the moment with my thoughts. I saw clearly my feelings of lack, or depravation and the filling of this emptiness with food. Many of these thoughts had nothing to do with the food I was consuming.
I awoke one morning recognize my hunger and to be willing to stay with the discomfort of what seemed to be a hungry heart, not a hungry belly.
I truly ate with a slower pace, putting the fork down between each mouthful, closing my eyes from time to time to really savor each bite. I paused before I would go to the buffet table for a second helping. I asked myself “Am I still hungry?” or was it my eyes that wanted to see all that beautiful bounty, or my mouth that loves to chew, or my heart that wanted something deeper than food?
I invite you to pause now…is food filling a space in your life that is asking for a different attention?
There will be many buffet tables for you to practice this at barbeques this summer. I invite you to take a breath when filling your plate and pause before that second plate. What hunger are you filling?
Peace and peaceful eating,