Eat the Beatles
During my first week-long retreat, I was introduced to mindful eating. The instructions were to attend to each bite of food, noticing smell, visual qualities of shape and color, texture in the mouth, quality of taste, pressure in the jaw exerted by biting and chewing, flow of saliva, movement of the tongue, and sensations of swallowing.
A suggestion was made to put down the fork between bites to watch the process of picking up and lifting the fork and placing the food into the mouth, noticing the muscles involved in this apparently simple act. This process was carried out in a room full of a few hundred people, all eating in silence.
What happened was an immediate sense that this was the first time I had really eaten. Usually my meals were accompanied by friends or TV or music. In those moments, I was eating the conversation, the evening news, or the Beatles. The food itself was a bit player in this ritual.
Now in the dining hall, closely attending to each bite opened up a world of sensation that had previously eluded me. I was going from black and white to technicolor. I found myself relishing the moment, not wanting to hurry past the experience. After a period of time I felt full and stopped.
My plate was still half covered with food!
In that moment I flashed back to one of my mother's favorite expressions- “Your eyes are too big for your stomach”- realizing that part of eating is the instinctive hoarding that comes when food is available to us. We've got it wired in our brains that it might be awhile until our next meal, so we load up! (And since we’ve paid for the meal, we want the biggest bang for the buck. Cruise ships thrive knowing this basic survival instinct).
Over the course of the week, I kept reducing the amount of food on my plate to see if I could match my biological need for sustenance with my acquisitive habits. After awhile, I began to get the hang of it.
Now, when I remember, I employ this engaging practice in my daily life, creating a moment of refreshment, a chance to savor in a wholesome and healthy way the incredible variety of foods available to us.
Community Sits This Week:
Monday 7:30 PM Sama Yoga New Canaan
Tuesday 1:00 PM Ferguson Library Stamford
Wednesday 12:00 PM New Canaan Library
Wednesday 7:30 PM Grace Episcopal Church Trumble (in the school building next to the church, downstairs) ***For people in recovery***
Thursday 7:00 PM Ferguson Library Stamford
• Mindfulness in Education Conference @ St. Luke's School in conjunction with Spence School, New Canaan Saturday June 9. Register here.
CMP survives on donations. All of our weekly sessions are free and open to the public, but donations are essential to our sustainability. Checks, cash and credit cards are accepted and donations are tax deductible.
Stay up-to-date on all CMP news and happenings by following us on Facebook, Instagram, Meetup and Insight Timer. And our website CommunityMindfulnessProject.org.
May all beings everywhere without exception walk with an open heart,
The CMP Team