These instructions came to us from Buddhist teachers, but similar practices are found in traditions across the world.
Practicing mindfulness during a meal gives you an opportunity to experience food and the act of eating as you may have never experienced it before. Pause before your meal and examine your food with all your senses, noticing the color, shape, feel, smell, and taste of your food. As your meal unfolds in silence, tasting, chewing, swallowing, and digesting slow down and take on new dimensions. This is also a convenient practice, as eating is an activity you will hopefully do every day! It’s a great way to explore how daily activities can be changed by mindfulness.
- Sit quietly, with a straight spine. Notice the sensations in your body. Note anticipation of eating.
- Slowly begin to put food on your plate. Pay close attention to the color, the aroma, the size of the portion. Notice thoughts in your mind.
- Set your plate in front of you. Look carefully at the food.
- Slowly place the food in your mouth, notice the explosion of flavor and sensation of the food in your mouth, on your tongue. Notice all the flavors: the bitter, sour, sweet, salty, mild, hot.
- Chew slowly, noticing the change in the texture, flavor, and sensations. Notice your thoughts. Notice the changes in your body as you swallow the food.
- If you are impatient, simply notice that and continue chewing and swallowing slowly and mindfully.
- Occasionally pause, put down your fork, and simply notice the sensations in your body and the thoughts in your mind.
- At the end of the meal, take a few mindful moments before getting up. Enjoy!