Eating Meditation

When we drink our tea, or eat a meal, we can do so with full awareness, and it becomes eating meditation.  We look deeply to see that this cup of tea (or this piece of bread, or tofu, or carrot) is the product of the whole universe. We can see the rain, the sun, the earth in it, because without the earth, without the sun, without the rain, the cloud, the farmer, etc., our food would not be here for us to enjoy. We recognize that we are being nourished by the whole universe, represented by this tea, or cookie (or broccoli, or tofu). That makes us enjoy it so much more.

In our regular life we often “wolf down” our food, not really taking note of it. We might eat while we work, talk on the phone, watch television, or be engaged in various thoughts, often negative ones.

Paying full attention to our food, seeing where it comes from, and paying attention to our chewing as we are breathing, slows us down so we can be with the food that nourishes us, enjoy it fully, and avoid habit energies (patterns) such as over-eating, stuffing our emotions, or feeding our anxieties and worries rather than our bodies and

When we look deeply at what we are eating, seeing the whole universe in the food, we let go of rushing, worries, and anxieties. Eating meditation is a chance to fully stop and nourish ourselves both physically and spiritually.

We allow ourselves to be fully aware of our breathing, our chewing, swallowing, digesting, etc. When we eat spinach we know this is spinach. When we eat rice, we are aware this is rice. We enjoy our breathing, our food, and each other’s company.

It is nice to enjoy a meal in silence even when we eat with others.  We might like to eat in silence for 10 minutes or so before we engage in convesation.

To encourage our meditation we can contemplate the food in the following way:

This food is the gift of the whole universe – the earth, the sky, and much hard work.
May we live in such a way so as to worthy to receive it.
May we transform our unskillful states of mind, especially that of greed.
May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.
We accept this food for the realization of the way of understanding and of love.

The Four Immeasurables

May all beings enjoy happiness and the root of happiness.
May we be free from suffering and the root of suffering.
May we not be separated from the great happiness that is devoid of suffering.
May we dwell in the great equanimity, free from passion, aggression and prejudice.