Mindful eating is an essential practice in my spiritual tradition. Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh teaches us a new way to approach food and eating.
Mindful eating is very pleasant. We sit beautifully. We are aware of the people that are sitting around us. We are aware of the food on our plates. This is a deep practice.
Each morsel of food is an ambassador from the cosmos.
When we pick up an apple, we look at it for half a second. We look mindfully to really recognize the piece of food, an apple. We should know that this is an apple. We identify it with our mindfulness: "I know this is an apple. " It only takes a fraction of a second.
When we are mindful, we recognize what we are picking up. When we put it into our mouth, we know what we are putting into our mouth. When we chew it, we know what we are chewing. It's very simple.
Some of us, while looking at an apple, can see the whole cosmos in it, can see the sunshine in it, can see the earth in it. It has come from the whole cosmos for our nourishment.
You may like to smile to it before you put it in your mouth. When you chew it, you are aware that you are chewing an apple. Don't put anything else into your mouth, like your projects, your worries, your fear, just put the apple in.
And when you chew, chew only the apple, not your projects or your ideas. You are capable of living in the present moment, in the here and the now. It is simple, but you need some training to just enjoy the piece of apple. This is a miracle.
Eating an apple consciously is to have a new awareness of the apple, of our world and of our own life. It celebrates nature, honoring what Mother Earth and the cosmos have offered us.
Eating an apple with mindfulness is a meditation and can be deeply spiritual. With this awareness and insight, you begin to have a greater feeling of gratitude for and appreciation of the food you eat, and your connection to nature and all others in our world. As the apple becomes more real and vibrant, your life becomes more real and vibrant.
Savoring the apple is mindfulness at work. And it is mindfulness that will help you reconnect with yourself and become healthier in mind, body and spirit now and in the future.