Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Mindfulness Experiments

I've recently started what I hope to become a series of mindfulness experiments. In September I'm focusing on mindful eating. It's a process for sure. Right now I'm doing great if I last a few minutes per session. Eventually I'd like to work up to all my solo meals being mostly mindfully eaten (it's a lot harder with others present but in those cases I'll focus on mindfully enjoying the company). I haven't planned my future experiments yet but I think adding more mindfulness to my daily living will enrich my walk with God, my relationships, my health and general well being. So it's worth the experiment.

I've been saying grace (thanking God for the food before eating it) for many years but mindful eating goes far beyond that to really savoring each bite, focusing on all of your senses while eating, not doing anything but eating (maybe some soft music in the background, but nothing distracting). A mindfulness exercise I learned from Leo of Zen Habits is to be thankful not just for the food and the hands that prepared it, but also for everyone involved in getting it to our table. I'm mostly vegan so to me this generally means the Lord for providing life itself and our planet, the farmers who grew the food, the workers who tended and harvested it, the shippers who transported it, the clerks who stocked it, the cashier who rang up our purchase, my husband for making it, the sun for shining down on it while it was growing, the rain and soil nutrients that nourished it... you get the idea. As a Christian, I give thanks to God for all of this because everything good comes from Him.

To help me with my mindful eating practice and hold myself accountable to others for performing it daily, I added "mindful eating" as a habit on Lift. Today when I read the "Smile, breathe and go slowly" quote by Thich Nhat Hanh I decided to add it to my preying mantis picture (above) and share it with you all. The photo reminds be to be mindful and take things slowly. Had I not been mindful on my walk the day I took that picture I never would have noticed the cleverly camouflaged preying mantis. Mindfulness brings many blessings. If you have ideas on increasing mindfulness, especially being mindful while eating, I'd love to hear them!

May God bless you!

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