- improves concentration
- provides sensory clarity
- reinforces emotional equanimity
- promotes digestion
- helps to reduce excessive body weight, as requires slow eating, thus less food to be full
This training type is derived from a meditative eating practice that can be found all around the world. It is an important part of Vipassana and Zen practices. There are lots of books that mention this kind of meditation, but we recommend a simple yet inspiring book by Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh called "Peace in Every Step".
Setting the training
- Download this pattern if you don't have it yet.
- Choose this pattern in Training tab or Control tab just before you are about to eat.
- You might change the settings of this meditation in Control tab and/or Dynamic tab to adjust it for your taste and needs.
- Prepare a couple of small pieces or thumb-nail-size chunks of the food you like, for instance chocolate, almonds or cheese. Or put some food on your plate if you are going to practice this meditation as a part of your regular meal.
- Sit down the way you are comfortable.
- Take a couple of slow relaxing breaths.
- Look at the food you have in front of you. Notice the colors and shapes you see; realize it will become a part of your body very soon.
- Smell your meal, name those aromas (spicy? sour? fresh?), feel they are not constant but changing. You may need to lean over your food and snuffle it loudly if its smell is too weak.
- Take a single piece of food (let's say a pistachio nut, a spoonful of soup or a slice of pizza) with your fingers. Feel its weight, texture and some details you see at close-up look. If possible, concentrate on the touch of this piece - is it warm or cold? Soft or hard? Firm or melting?
- If appropriate, make a sound with this piece of food and listen to it carefully. It might be a rustling of nuts, crunching of bread, or splashing of juice in a glass. Note its volume, length and timbre.
- Think of the long way this piece has made to settle in your hands now. Imagine the lands it came from, the sun and the rain, the air and the soil that nourished this food. Consider all the work of people who took care of it to be grown, harvested, sorted, packed, shipped, sold, bagged, cooked, served etc. for you to hold it this very moment. Realize the complexity of interactions of natural resources, plants, people, and perhaps of animals and machines that produced this single piece of food.
- Close your eyes.
- Slowly put this piece of food to your mouth, but don't chew it. Feel it on your tongue - notice its temperature, texture, shape, smell and taste. Notice how your body reacts to it - you might experience active salvation and stomach roars.
- Start chewing your food, slowly and gently. Experience each chomp as a conscious act. Observe how the shape, size, texture of food are changing, new aromas and flavors are releasing. Do at least 20-30 chewing movements before you proceed.
- Swallow this piece and feel it going down to your stomach. Contemplate the sensations in your throat and in your stomach. Notice if this affects your breathing and how it does.
- If any outer thoughts or tensions come, notice them and let them go.
- Repeat the steps above with a new piece, or continue your regular meal as usual. Or do a couple of calm breaths and finish the meditation.
- Please note it might look unusual for people around you if you're eating not alone or in public place.
How long should I train? How can I combine this pattern with another? Should I always inhale through my nose?
If you have such or other questions, please look through the FAQ page.