We all love to eat. Taking in food keeps us alive and if it’s a pleasant experience, all the better.
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that not only are our meals important to our overall health and wellness, but they are also crucial to our mental state during and after the time that we are eating.“What you think impacts your Digestion,
As much as what you eat impacts your Consciousness!”
The Practice of Sacred Eating is performed over and above any prayers or blessings you may perform and is conducted in a completely silent manner with no outside distractions. Please note that you can modify this practice to fit into your daily meal time habits.
The overall attitude and energy that you should embody during this practice is: Slow Down.
1. Take a moment to become present in the “now.” Tune into your breath and slow your heart rate while focusing the mind on your digestive system. This awareness is not just about the stomach. Draw your mind across ALL the organs associated with taking nutrition into your body:
- Nose (Right and Left Nostrils)
- Tongue (Front, Back and Sides)
- Teeth (Top and Bottom Rows)
- Small Intestine (Seat of Absorption in the body)
- Large Intestine (Beginning phase of elimination and water absorption)
- Rectum and Anus
2. In this present state, take the time to VISUALLY observe your food. What does it look like? Really try to have no judgement about what you are observing. What is the nature of the container that the food is being held in, what color is it? Is there a contrast between the food and the material of the container? Do they blend evenly? How do the two “textures” interact? How vibrant is the food? What’s the consistency of the food material?
3. When you have your serving, savor the scent of the food. Inhale, hold your breath and the scent, exhale, and hold your breath out for just a moment. Pay special attention to how even the smell of the food has an “echo” of a taste. Taste is intimately tied into the sense of smell. The taste generated from the sense of smell registers on the taste buds throughout the mouth.
4. With each bite, before you chew, hold the food in your mouth for just a moment, assimilating the various bits of information about the meal. This information includes the consistency of the food, the initial taste profile as well as a cascade of sensations coursing down throughout the alimentary (digestive) canal. Remember, there are a whole host of molecular interactions occurring within your body as you prepare to eat. The entire digestive system is reacting to the information being “unpacked” from first site, to first scent, to first bite!
5. Chew each bite of food much slower than you are used to, paying attention to the coming and going of the various flavors that are presented with each chew. After swallowing a bite, pay attention to the lingering tastes, flavor notes, and sensations in the body. Really take your time to relish the relish!
6. Once you finish your meal, take some time to look at what is left on the plate or in the bowl, the combination of oils, films, shapes, food particles etc. These sacred traces allow you to go deeper or “track” the whole of the constituents of the meal and their interaction with one another. This provides insights into how the ingredients of this meal are going to interact with your cells.
7. We often discard the remnants of the food on our plates in an almost derogatory way, as if they are the dirty byproducts of our meal. In truth, these traces of our meal are actually an honest representation of our experience, the interaction, the relationship we’ve just created with our food. Honor it deeply.
= What Brought You Here =
Throughout the meal be aware of each component that contributed to and brought it to your plate.
Visualize each element, each food stuff, as a sacrifice and contribution to the purpose and vision of your life. Honor them as they will assist you in going about your day and accomplishing your goal(s).
Close your eyes periodically throughout the meal and tune in deeply to your inner landscape. Endeavor to shut out the “outside noise” that populates your environment. Breath more deeply and focus on the exhale (stimulating the relaxing part of your Nervous System), increasing your digestive system’s functioning.
After all the food is gone, draw in a deep breath across your plate or bowl, allowing the last vestiges of the meal to settle deep into your awareness.
Take a moment, in your own way, to give thanks to those who have graciously provided you with this meal. These may include:
- Those who have consciously prepared your meal with the intention of supporting you and your life’s purpose.
- Those who have dedicated or given their life to cultivate, harvest and / or transport the ingredients.
- Those whom we may not even have an awareness of, perhaps countries away, whose lives are impacted by even the smallest ingredient or spice that we are taking into our body.
Once this is complete, take a few moments to FEEL your body once again, comparing the sensations before the meal to the sensations after. Giving thanks, conclude your meal.
And don’t forget to wash the dishes!