So lets go into today with a simple practice of appreciation. I chose to use our food and meals as a reference, but remember we all have much to appreciate!
Practices to increase our mindfulness and help us remember our motivation are rituals of prayer, mindfulness or offering of our food before we eat (your choice, your faith your routine). Imagine the food to be beneficial for our growth in all aspects of life —something very delicious that increases our bliss and wisdom when mindfully consumed. When we eat, we offer this moment, this food to the energy of our heart and our existence. The Buddha radiates light that fills us up. To do this, you don’t need to sit in perfect meditation position in the middle of a restaurant! You can visualize and contemplate in this way while waiting for the food. While your companions or business associates continue to chat, you can do this visualization without anyone knowing. Sometimes, for example, when you’re at home with your family, you can pause and focus on offering your food. It’s very nice for a family to recite together a prayer or ritual offering of their food.
When you eat, eat mindfully. Be aware of the effort other people put into growing, transporting, and preparing the food. Realize your interdependence with other living beings and how much benefit you have received from them, such as the food we eat. If we reflect in this way before we eat, we will feel very happy and grateful when we eat, and we will eat more mindfully too. And if we eat mindfully, we won’t overeat, and then we won’t have to spend so much money on special diets to lose weight!
It is important to eat in a dignified manner. Sometimes we see people in a cafeteria line who haven’t even paid for the food yet and are already shoveling it in. This is eating on automatic. It resembles a dog who runs to the bowl and slurps up the food. When we do this reflection and offer our food to the Buddha at our heart, we eat slower and are more relaxed.
This is how human beings eat. . . mindfully, with focus and intent.
Enjoy your meals and minutes and come to understand the small connections that make this life a gift!
Peace and Love, Jim