The other day I stopped mid-breakfast and noticed how fast my teeth were going devouring a piece of toast. I slowed them down but, only seconds later, they had speeded up once more. I was astonished – they had a life of their own!! Don’t worry what the food tastes like they seemed to be saying – just get it down quickly.
This realization led to intermittent detective work – I say intermittent because I have found that I am certainly not concentrating on food when I am eating it. I’m always doing something else – like thinking, talking, moving hands or other parts of the body – anything but slowly using my mandibles to enjoy food and to prepare it for my digestive tract.
Yesterday I made breakfast and sat down applying what I have learned about meditation to food consumption and it was very difficult! To stay with the practice of eating was almost impossible – my mind kept drifting off to thoughts – I would have blank times when I had no idea what was going on – except that that piece of toast was totally gone!! Chomped on and swallowed!!
Last night we had a friend over for dinner – half way through the meal I stopped and noticed my plate was empty and my husband and our friend seemed to have just started. I was having a glass of wine while they were still eating.
It’s like meeting a stranger, another side of my personality that I have not been aware of before. I realize I have a habit of eating fast and there’s a part of me that doesn’t want to slow down. I’m hardly tasting the food at all.
Since this rather astonishing revelation I’ve decided to try using food being eaten as the object of meditation and see if I can train myself to slow down and enjoy the process. Applying mindfulness and awareness to breathing and thoughts is often the way one begins learning meditation. I’m going to apply the same principles to eating food and see what happens. I have a feeling it’s going to take quite a bit of practice and at present there’s very little poise or equanimity in my mind about it.
Dinner’s just around the corner and I’m feeling a little apprehensive – kind of like I’ve invited someone I don’t really know over and I’m not sure how it’s going to go.
This post was written by Noelle Lynden-Way. She lives in Northern NSW, is a grandmother and has practiced meditation for over 10 years.