We seem to have lost our ability to nurture ourselves and to find satisfaction.
Sometimes we are distracted by thoughts, emotions or conversation; sometimes by the television, the web or a movie. Sometimes we eat mechanically, on the run, or standing up. Often we are doing several things at once.
Sometimes we are so full of desire we cannot slow down enough to taste the food. We are moving our fork to the next bite of food when we already have a mouth full. We want what we already have!
Only by slowing down and being present with the experience of eating will we be able to enjoy it. “You must be present to win” says the sign in Las Vegas. When we bring our awareness to the present moment where we can savor the flavors, aromas and textures, we find ourselves at a sensory banquet.
Only by slowing down and becoming conscious of what we are doing do we achieve the satisfaction for which we long. If we do not open deeply and completely to the experience we will be left on the surface of the event, ending with a feeling of not having ‘been there’: unsatisfied and still craving. Satisfaction comes from being present, not from consuming more. When we understand this….when we eat consciously with intention…feelings of gratitude, satisfaction, and well being spontaneously arise, without separate endeavor.
“To eat slowly, then, also means to eat deliberately, in the original sense of that word: ‘from freedom’ instead of compulsion. Many food cultures, particularly those at less of a remove from the land than ours, have rituals to encourage that sort of eating, such as offering a blessing over the food or saying grace before the meal. The point, it seems to me, is to make sure that we don’t eat thoughtlessly or hurriedly, and that knowledge and gratitude will inflect our pleasure at the table. I don’t ordinarily offer any special words before a meal, but I do sometimes recall a couple of sentences written by Wendell Berry, which do a good job of getting me to eat more deliberately:
‘Eating with the fullest pleasure – pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance – is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.’”
Michael Pollan, In Defense of Food
Gift of the Universe
This food is of the earth, the sky, and much hard work.
May we live in a way that is worthy
And by eating mindfully,
We transform our unskillful states of mind, especially that of greed,
And attain the way of understanding and love.
RECEIVING FOOD AS A SPIRITUAL GIFT
RATHER THAN AS A PRODUCT
“The problem may be more difficult to understand than to solve. Beneath the veneer of civilization, to paraphrase the trite phrase or humanism, lies not the barbarian and animal, but the human in us who knows the rightness of birth in gentle surroundings, the necessity of a rich nonhuman environment, play at being animals, the discipline of natural history, juvenile tasks with simple tools, the expressive arts of receiving food as a spiritual gift rather than as a product, the cultivation of metaphorical significance of natural phenomena of all kinds, clan membership and small group life, and the profound claims and liberation of ritual initiation, and subsequent stages of adult mentorship.
There is a secret person undamaged in every individual, aware of the validity of these, sensitive to their right moments in our lives…this means that we have not lost, and cannot lose, the genuine impulse. It awaits only an authentic expression. The task is not to start by recapturing the theme of a reconciliation with the earth in all of its metaphysical subtlety, but with something much more direct and simple that will yield its own healing metaphysics.”
Paul Shepard, Nature and Madness, 1982 , p 127-128.
“We not only believe that we’re separate from nature; we actually think we can direct it. We refer to components of the earth as ‘resources’ rather than as entities, life systems unto themselves. For many people, the earth has no meaning until they find utility in it.”
Barry Lopez, “The Sun”, June 2006
Eating mindfully is a deep spiritual practice. In every bite is everything in the universe. Each bite is a doorway into the ultimate understanding of interdependence.
Every bite is a political act!
“The way we eat has an enormous impact on the health of the planet. By choosing to eat lower on the food chain, and focusing on local and organic produce, we can curb global warming and air pollution, avoid toxic pesticides, support local farmers and enjoy fresh, tasty food."
Purpose Focused Alternative Learning: http://www.purposefocused.org/?id=permaculture
“How can we best use our resources?” Oppenlander asks in “Comfortably Unaware.” “What foods will have the very least effect on our planet? Which foods best promote our own human health and wellness, and which are the most compassionate? Do we really need to slaughter another living thing in order for us to eat? Or, sadly, is it because we want to?”