Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Happy Bodhi Day
Meditation, it seems to me, is about setting aside a little time to step outside of our daily activities for the sake of a few moments of mindfulness. I've no doubt that's a good thing. But the appeal of eating an orange (or eating anything) mindfully is that it brings mindfulness to our daily activities. Or at least one of them—and one that most of us are especially inclined to do without awareness, while our monkey minds are racing ahead to the next thing on our to-do list.
But what does it mean to eat something mindfully? A friend once told me that her doctor gave her guidelines for doing just that, advising her to consider the texture of the food, each little nuance of flavor and so forth. I remember listening to her description of those instructions and thinking that it sounded like way too much work. It was more like eating analytically—and I can't help but think how typical it is of Western medicine to complicate something that should be elegantly simple and natural, to the point of making it seem unnatural.
I prefer an eating-for-pleasure approach: slow down, savor, enjoy. It's explained very nicely, without prescriptiveness, in this interview with nutritional psychologist Marc David.
Happy Bodhi Day. Enjoy!