When I was in my first semester of my senior year in college, I took a class called Spirituality West and East. Under the guidance of the most exceptional professor I’ve ever had (or teacher of any kind for that matter), my classmates and I studied a variety of beliefs from Hinduism to Greek Orthodoxy, not by simply reading about them chapter after chapter in a textbook but by visiting their places of worship and practicing some of their rituals and traditions. It was not a course about religion, but rather a reverent and sincere exploration into the worlds of the practitioners, both individually and collectively. This class was a life-changer for me, and I am grateful for its place in my journey.
While studying the Buddhist tradition, the class prepared and ate a meal together, completely in silence. This eating meditation, designed to move us through the process of a meal in a way most of us hadn’t before, brought my attention to the composition of the dish—from single components to finished product—the textures and tastes of each bite, the process each of the ingredients underwent in order to materialize on our table, my body’s satisfaction when I was finished eating. I actually still use the lasagna recipe we prepared and think about the eating meditation every time I make it.
When was the last time you truly enjoyed a meal? Do you run out the door with a Greek yogurt in one hand and a coffee in the other? I’m certainly guilty of it. But every once in a while, I will prepare a meal with my own hands and fully experience what is produced. Your challenge this week is to fully experience one of your meals. If you make it, great! If another person makes it for you, show your appreciation. Be in the moment, however long or short, and be grateful for the food that fuels your body.