How did you do last week observing and becoming mindful of the empty space around objects? Even though I’m artist I found this practice to be rather challenging. My week was busy and I didn’t slow down very often. So this afternoon when I took my walk, I observed the space around the trees and tree branches. The sky did seem more vibrant and the blue more intense. In fact, I think this may qualify as practicing three of our mindfulness tasks-seeing blue, observing trees, and observing empty space.
This Week’s Practice: One Bite at a Time
This week’s practice, to take one bite at a time, reminds me of being told as a child to “chew each bite of your food 37 times” (or whatever that number was-30 something.) Being told that as kids we were lead to believe that chewing a bite of food for 30 some odd times would improve our digestion. All it really did was destroy the taste of the food and make me impatient.
Taking one bite at a time, however, is more practical. In this practice we are asked to take a bite of food or a sip of liquid and then to put down our utensil or cup. Why? Well, how many of you practice eating by the shovelful? You know, take a bite, chew a little, take another bite before finishing the first bite and so on and so forth. Our go-go-go time pressured society doesn’t always encourage us to enjoy our food.
But isn’t that the point of having a nice meal? To eat slowly. To savor. When we eat slowly, we feel full sooner. When we feel full sooner, the better we become about the amount of food we eat.
The other aspect of this practice is becoming aware of impatience. Eating quickly may be considered an example of impatience. If eating quickly is a frequent occurrence, in what other aspects of your life are you impatient? And if you’re impatient in many areas of your life, do you need to ask yourself why you’re in such a rush to get through life?
When the mind is absent, thinking about the past or the future, we only half-taste our food. When our awareness rests in our mouth, we are fully present as we eat.
Reflection: There can be no party in the mouth if the mind is not invited to attend. -Dr Jan Chozen Bays