Sunday, July 27, 2008

Food and Mindfulness

I went on a meditation retreat this weekend. I was totally, utterly freaked out that I wouldn't be able to "handle" it. But I did! I lived through it, it was awesome, and I recommend it to all. The retreat was led by Sharon Salzberg, who is one of the most amazing teachers and writers that I know of. Her book Faith: Trusting Your Own Deepest Experience is so well wrought, that I can't even do it justice by describing it. Especially for someone like me who grew up very uncomfortable with the idea/word/feelings associated with faith, her book is like taking back an idea and making it wholesome and accessible to all. Real. Here in the world. Right now.

What the heck does have to do with food?!?

Good Question.

Here's the thing: it was a silent retreat. When lunch rolled around, everybody pulled out their sack lunches and sat around eating. In silence. Just. Eating. Not reading, playing on the internet, watching TV, talking with friends. Nothing. But. Eating.

My blueberries burst in my mouth. I could taste all the different flavors and textures in my homemade dill caraway rye bread. The garlic and creaminess in my cashew cheese. I noticed just how loud my corn chips sounded as I chomped into them. Just this bite. This taste. This texture. Now this bite, this feeling on the tongue. Don't skip ahead to the next bite (or the next 50). Just this one bite. One bite at at a time.

So my challenge to all my blogging friends out there: Just for one meal this week, try Just Eating. Run the idea by your loved ones and see what they think. Or sneak away and eat by yourself in the closet where no one will bother you (or better yet, outside!). Just eat. See what happens.

Let me know what you think. I'd love to hear about your experiences!


Jen said...

Wow Chessa, that's so cool that you attended a retreat led by Sharon Salzberg! I really enjoyed reading this post. I don't get too much quiet or alone time around here during meals, but I think I will take on your challenge for my evening tea after the kids are in bed. Thanks for the inspiration!

Chile said...

I went to two separate one-day silent meditation days. The mindful eating was a very good experience. I tend to try to multi-task too much now, either surfing or watching a show with my sweetie when I eat nowadays. Thanks for the reminder to s l o w d o w n.