In my earlier post, I have given an overview of my understanding of Meditation and a list of 5 simple methods that one can use to mediate. In this post, I am giving details on the first method, called Attentive Eating.
Attentive Eating: An effective way to achieve a Meditative state: In this, what we simply need to do is that whenever we eat, be it breakfast, lunch or dinner, we completely immerse ourselves in the process of eating.
Giving attention to anything is said to change its nature and behavior. The Double Slit experiment gives us proof of this. When a quantum “observer” is watching, Quantum mechanics states that particles can also behave as waves. … In other words, when under observation, electrons are being “forced” to behave like particles and not like waves. Thus the mere act of observation affects the experimental findings. Therefore, the impact of Attention, Awareness and Observation is established beyond doubt.
Here’s what I do….. While I eat, I become completely attentive, aware and observing the process. I am never engaged simultaneously in chatting, talking on the mobile, watching TV, nothing. The only thing that exists is the divine presence of my food and my self. Then as I eat, I bring my awareness to the taste, touch and smell of food as I pick it, chew it and swallow. I chew food till the time it becomes liquid in my mouth and only then swallow it. I slow down the process of eating by 10-20% observing the entire process as it happens. I simultaneously maintain awareness of my entire body as I eat.
I do not engage in formal prayer at home, or in a temple, however, I consider the process of eating as a form of prayer and uniting with the divine. While eating, my mind is completely silent. It is not judging the food, neither assessing whether the taste is good or bad. I’m just eating it with a smile, being grateful and thankful to the universe for making food available to me multiple times every day. I consume it knowing that the atoms and molecules in it are very soon going to be ‘me’ when they get into my cells and my bloodstream.
If we do this just for 3-4 days, for every meal that we have, we suddenly start experiencing a shift happening deep inside us the moment we sit for eating food and then this state continues for hours even after we are done with our lunch or dinner.
The greatest benefit of this method is that unlike other methods, we do not need to spare time for this separately apart from our daily routine. We regularly eat at least 3 times a day, and therefore every day presents us with at least three opportunities for deeply engaging in this wonderful eating meditation.
A direct benefit of this meditation is that our digestion of food improves drastically, more saliva is secreted since our mind is involved in the food and the process of eating. We must understand that saliva is not secreted due to chewing, it is secreted when the mind is involved with food, even if it is at a thought level. I’m sure you would have experienced salivation even when you think of certain foods, say a lemon, raw mango etc. while these are not even in front of you.
The brain also gets the feeling of satisfaction sooner and so we don’t keep eating more than what we require, thereby avoiding getting overweight. Also, we are able to eat lesser to get the same amount of energy and nutrition as before. One must understand that digestion is an extremely energy consuming process. if we eat more than what the body requires, then in effect, we are putting in extra energy to digest the extra food consumed which the body actually doesn’t need and will later just store it as extra fat which we will end up carrying around us all the time, thus requiring extra energy. One must avoid this situation for sure.
Attentive eating, according to me is the easiest form of meditation. I highly recommend this method to everyone and especially those who find other forms of meditation difficult.