Ok, full disclosure. I do not TAKE the time to do any of these things. When I had a family at home, I did...for them. They had to eat after all. Me, eh....I'll grab whatever. I have determined I could pretty much live on cottage cheese and canned pineapples. I don't really enjoy cooking unless it is for an event, ie. family or friends over. For myself, I grab whatever and eat on the run or in front of a screen...not so much in the car, come on, I've got standards. But this is a terrible habit I have developed over the past couple of years and it has not served me well.
I have been thinking a lot about living consciously and being aware. No, I am not talking about the New Age watered down approach to Buddhism or some other appropriated* philosophy. I am simply talking about being awake when I do anything. One of my teachers invited me to begin with eating, so I did. It's really been quite amazing. At first, since I was excited and therefore very aware of the exercise, I did quite well. Pausing before eating or drinking. Saying a blessing and thinking about the act. I was feeling pretty damn good about myself. And then life happened. I got busy. And I discovered it was all too easy to fall back into mindless consumption. The difference this time was, I did think about it. Yes, it may have been two or three bites in, but I thought about it. That was a big deal for me. I was/am building awareness.
What are your thoughts on the subject? Have or how do you practice awareness? If you would like, I invite you to try this with me:
- Before you eat or drink anything, take a moment to breathe. Yes, breathe. Look at what you are about to eat and see it. I am not saying that you need to make a show of it.::::OOOOOOOHHHHH an AAAAAAAAPPLEEEEE.....shiny, red, waxy.....ewwwwww:::::::But just see it.
- Consider a word of thanks. Perhaps a blessing you are comfortable with. If not a blessing take a moment to be grateful that you have this food. More than likely it came relatively easy for you. Have gratitude for that.
- CHEW. You might be thinking, DUH! But consider, how many of us actually chew our food all the way. Taking the time to chew is a huge act of awareness in itself. Note the actual taste. Pretend you are a chef developing your palette, what are all the flavors and textures.
- DO NOT FEEL GUILTY! This is very important. If you forget, and you will, don't beat yourself up. Be glad that you eventually remembered. Remember this is an exercise in awareness. Little by little awareness that is built up in your consciousness. Like with any training, small repetitions over time build strength. It will take time, but you can do it, one bite at a time.
NOTE ON THE WORD APPROPRIATION: Appropriation means to take something for one's own use, and while religions, philosophies can and, I think, should be shared (wisdom is a good thing) to say x,y,z is a true representative of such and such religion or philosophy is not okay. It has been my personal experience that there are many well meaning folks who kinda helped themselves to some pretty cool religions and philosophies and sort of ran with them claiming expertise and mastership. Again, not okay. It's fine if you learn and use something that helps you, rock on! But it is not okay to claim you are an expert in something after a weekend workshop or a couple of classes. Not to mention any names, as I would not wish to embarrass Madonna here, I think but you get the drift.