Mindful Eating II -- Looking Deeply

How intimate are you with what you know to be true?

Something in you signed up for this email group – something responded and said “yes, I want to receive a mindfulness task from the monastery each week!”  We’ve been going for awhile, now, I hope that these emails continue to nourish your spiritual aspirations.

The key to all of the mindfulness tasks is that they must be engaged with (we have to do them) in order to have them bear fruit.  It’s tempting (for this practitioner, at least) to read a task and say “Yes, of course, I understand what that is about,” and thus give (myself) permission not to actually pick up the task (or find some way of reminding myself of the task) during the week.

For the past two weeks we have been working with putting down the spoon between bites.  My short (personal) report is that once I got through the part that was annoyed by the idea of slowing down just slightly, I found that I was MUCH more present when I engaged with the “put down that spoon” task, and that I enjoyed and benefited from the resulting mind states.

The mindfulness task for this coming (one) week is another one from the mindful eating teachings.  We are invited to look into the cause and effect relationships associated with at least one of the items we are eating.

What does this mean?  Picking up, say, a slice of apple, where was this apple before it got into my hands? (Buffet line, and then before that in the kitchen).  How did the apple get to the kitchen?  How did it get to the grocery store? What before that?  How far back can you go?

This actually does not take a long time to do, especially if you are a somewhat visual person, we are talking about one minute or less of “rewinding the video tape.”

Engaging with this task is one way of closing the gap between what we know intellectually and what we are able to remember and embody moment to moment. For some people, the knowledge that the apple is “me” so permeates the awareness that we never “forget” (it’s no longer a matter of remembering).  We all have the potential for this degree of intimacy.

If you are less intimate with/connected to your surroundings than you would like to be, please try doing this task at least once each day this week.

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