Monday, June 16, 2008

Can Eating Be More Than Just Eating?

Some time ago, I bought a little set of cards called "Present Moment Wonderful Moment" by Thich Nhat Hanh that can be used for meditation and pondering our daily lives. Along with the cards was a little book where he expands a little bit on each of the verses. I picked a card this weekend that really touched me and helped me see how eating can be a gift not only to myself but to others. Here is the verse:

With the first taste, I offer joy.
With the second, I help relieve the suffering of others.
With the third, I see others' joy as my own.
With the fourth, I learn the way of letting go.

Here is part of what he wrote about this: "Eating can be very joyful. I smile at it, put it in my mouth, and chew it with complete awareness of what I am eating - mindfulness is always mindfulness of something - and I chew my food in such a way that life, joy, solidity and non-fear become possible. After twenty minutes of eating, I feel nourished, not only physically, but also mentally and spiritually. This is a very deep practice."

I am only now starting to arrive at a point where I can pause before I start eating to become aware of my food. I have written down these verses and propped them by my eating space and will endeavor to find that moment to pause, so that my eating can be a gift to others as well as to myself.