I know, of all the things we need coaching on, eating hardly seems like a worthy topic for an entire article. Well, before you yawn and move on to something else, consider that Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh has written not just one measely article but an entire book on the subject. Seriously.
I would have agreed with your estimation prior to my experience at Thich Nhat Hanh’s One Buddha is Not Enough retreat in Colorado last summer. It was then that I discovered that I was quite adept at shoving food into my mouth but that my consciousness of the experience of eating was quite rudimentary.
I ask you this: What did you have for breakfast today? What were you thinking about when that morsel of toast or eggs was in your mouth? If you’re like me, you were probably strategizing how you were going to shower, make the kids lunches and get us all out the door in time to not get a disapproving look from the Kindergarten teacher as we hustle into the classroom late again. Or on a good, relaxed morning, I might be thinking that my next bite could potentially include bacon!
My point is, how many times is our mind really where we are at the moment? Sadly, hardly ever. Okay, fine if it’s scrambled eggs. But what about that time you splurged at French Laundry? Or, where were you really as you watched your kid in the 4th grade play? The point that Thay makes and that I share in our Yogi Parenting Discussion on Centering is this:
If we are never where we are, how will we know when
we have arrived at our destination?