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Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Mindfulness Practice 7

What is your modus operandi when you sit down to eat?  Do you devour your food as quickly as possible, read, carry on a conversation, watch television, or do you taste each morsel as though it was your last?  If you answered "taste each morsel as though it was your last" congratulations, you are a mindful eater. If you didn't answer yes, you might want to explore a new way of eating that can enlighten your senses.

Slowly taking the food on your utensil to your mouth, smelling its aroma, savoring it as you place it in your mouth and allowing your taste buds to explore the delicate flavors of each piece of food is an art that has been lost in our hurried, modern life style of today.  Bhukti is enjoying the senses to their fullest.  In the case of eating there can be great pleasure in seeing, smelling, tasting as well as touching and hearing.  All five senses may be engaged in the process of dining on a delicious meal.

Not only may all five senses be involved in eating but the internal satisfaction of having eaten a good meal and the feeling of  satiation can be one of heavenly delight.  Food having been eaten mindfully and then digested slowly in the viscera is beyond description.  Thirty percent of the our blood is needed for adequate digestion.  Blood rushing into the gastrointestinal tract and absorbing  vital nutrients is a process that should be allowed to occur without disturbance. All too often, though, we are in a rush to get up and get going.

Rushing to get through eating and rushing to get somewhere afterwards can cause all kinds of problems in the body due to poor digestion and over consumption.  This can lead to obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, acid reflux, heart burn, mental disease, cancer, and Barrett's esophagus http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2064544/Why-eating-quickly-fast-track-early-grave.html.

So, the next time you sit down to eat a meal why don't you do it mindfully?  Take a few seconds to look at your food.  Observe its colors and textures.  If you have some finger food on your plate feel it as though your are feeling it for the first time. Close your eyes and smell the aroma that is drifting into your nostrils.  Be aware of saliva building up in your mouth and the urge to eat right now.  As you take some food toward your mouth do it slowly and purposefully.  Enjoy this miraculous moment of dining on fine cuisine.  Think, "this could be my last meal.  I will enjoy it to the fullest."

When you place the first piece of food in your mouth, chew it slowly.  Stay conscious and start tuning in to bhukti.  Turn on all of your senses and enjoy every bite, every chew, and every swallow.  Mindful eating is a sensual and enlightening experience.  Bon appetite.   


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