50 times = enlightenment

I’m very interested in the practice of mindful eating, and have written about it previously.

However this wonderful post “Zeke + Buddhist Monk + Almonds = Enlightenment!” brought it to the forefront of my mind once again.

In the above post, David quoted a passage from one of Thich Nhat Hanh’s books.  Part of this passage included the following advice:

To eat well, we should chew our food about fifty times before we swallow.  When we eat very slowly, and make the food in our mouth into a kind of liquid, we will absorb much more nutrition through our intestines.  If we eat well, and chew our food carefully, we get more nutrition than if we eat a lot but don’t digest it well….Eating is a deep practice. “

 

This really intrigued me.  

I can honestly say I have never chewed my food 50 times before swallowing.  And I was keen to try it out.  So tonight I did just that whilst eating my dinner.

And it was a lot more challenging than I was expecting!

I am used to eating my dinner on the go.  Most of my meals are eaten in front of the computer whilst working.

So tonight I sat down.  With no other distractions.  And practised chewing each mouthful 50 times before swallowing.

It was surprising how much my mind resisted this practice!  At first I struggled to overcome the strong urge to swallow my food, and quickly take the next mouthful.  To ease my hunger.  And because it tasted so yummy!

I kept persisting.  I even closed my eyes so I could fully concentrate.

I got to 30.  Then the next mouthful 32.  Then 40.  Then eventually I got to 50.

The whole practice was completely fascinating.

From my resistance to eating slowly and calmly.  To the effect on my mind and body (and taste buds!) when I did patiently stick with it.

The food tasted amazing!  As Thich Nhat Hanh promised it would.

And afterwards I felt satisfied, but without the indigestion I usually feel.

It was an immensely satisfying experience.  And very calming!

I urge you to try it, and let me know what you think!

 

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Why did you say that??

I am a HUGE fan of Gil Fronsdal and his dharma talks.

It’s actually on my ‘bucket list’ to travel to Redwood City to listen to him talk in person at the Insight Meditation Centre (just putting it out there universe! 🙂 )

One dharma talk of his that especially stayed with me was “Mindfulness of Speaking”.

I am planning on doing a whole post dedicated to mindfulness of speech (because it’s such a wonderful subject to explore), but there was one thing he said that really resonated with me, and changed the way that I think.

And it was:

“If you want to jump-start your mindfulness practice, to go deep in Buddhist Practice, then here is the direct path…

Be aware of why you are saying what you are about to say

 

So when you speak – what is the motivation behind what you are saying.  And what exactly are you sharing?

Are you sharing delight?

Are you sharing information?

Or are you really trying to say something about yourself?  

How many times, when you speak, does what you say contain useful information that needs to be passed on?

How much is opinion?  And gossip?  And trying to accomplish something subtly?

 

There can be multiple agendas and purposes behind what we are saying.

It’s a wonderful and enlightening exercise to think about what you are going to say before you say it.

To take note of your intention before you speak, and your state of mind.  

Is it calm?  Relaxed?  Friendly?

Your speech will likely follow your state of mind.

For me, listening to this talk – and following Gil’s advice – created a paradigm shift.

It changed my way of thinking forever.

 

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“Smile, breathe and go slowly.” ― Thich Nhat Hanh