You ate what?!

“Your body is precious. It is our vehicle for awakening. Treat it with care.” ~Buddha

There’s a few areas in my life that I would really like to focus on in regards to my practice.

And mindfulness of eating is one of them.

I must admit I am guilty of multi-tasking to the extreme.  And nearly all of my meals are eaten in front of the computer whilst working.

So my goal at the moment is to practice mindful eating for at least one meal per week.

A mindful eating exercise

  • Disconnect.  The same as you would if you were going to meditate.  Turn off your phone, the TV, step away from your computer (this is the challenge for me)
  • Sit in a quiet area with minimal distractions
  • Start by really noticing your meal.  The colours, texture, the smells, the presentation.
  • Take one mouthful.  Then put your fork down.
  • What are your sensory experiences?  What can you taste?  What is the temperature of your meal?  What are the textures – crunchy, chewy, soft.
  • Chew carefully and thoughtfully.
  • Take your time before taking the next mouthful.
  • Then repeat the whole process again.
  • The real key is putting down your fork between mouthfuls.
What did you notice by eating mindfully?
Where you more aware of your food?
Could you tell when you felt full?
How did you feel afterwards?
I found this a very interesting exercise.  At first I struggled to really focus.  The first few mouthfuls I was able to be very mindful and present, but then my mind drifted.  And I had to keep pulling back my attention to the meal.
It wasn’t until the meal was finished and I stood up that I noticed the level of clarity I was experiencing.
I happened to walk past the TV (in another room on mute), and the flashing of colours from the TV was incredibly overwhelming.
Another tip is to try to make at least one cup of tea a coffee a day an opportunity for mindfulness.
 It’s just one more way we can incorporate practice into our daily life.
Mindful eating is very pleasant. We sit beautifully. We are aware of the people that are sitting around us. We are aware of the food on our plates. This is a deep practice. Each morsel of food is an ambassador from the cosmos.  Thich Nhat Hanh

Mindful eating

Love is all you need

Special thanks to derekcheyyim for the suggestion for today’s post 🙂

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared” ~ The Buddha

Among all the helpful emotions developed on the Buddhist path, love is perhaps one of the most important.

It helps to ensure that a person’s spiritual life is based on healthy and open relationships with the people around them, and with other forms of life.

It also creates the right inner conditions for the heart to relax and be at peace.

It is usually easy to have kind and loving feels towards those people that we love – our friends and family.  Focusing on developing those feelings towards the people you care about is an important basis for developing a loving kindness practice.

The stronger the foundation of our loving-kindness practice is, the easier it is to expand our loving-kindness practice to those people towards whom we would not normally feel kindness.   The ultimate goal in developing a loving-kindness practice is to feel the same level of goodwill, love, friendliness, and acceptance towards everyone – friends and strangers alike.

The sense of “self” and “other” will fall away, and be replaced by an extensive feeling of open heartedness.

Here are some of my favourite tips for strengthening loving-kindness:

  • Practice loving=kindness meditation.  Here is a great resource to find out more
  • Be a good listener.  Listen fully and openly without thinking about what you are going to say next, or trying to offer advice or a solution
  • Smile at everyone
  • Practice random acts of kindness (RAOK’s)
  • Cook a meal for family of friends
  • Call or visit someone who is sick
  • Tell someone you appreciate them
  • Pass on feedback if you receive good customer service – let the person’s manager know
  • Be generous with compliments
  • Be positive
  • Share inspirational quotes
  • Be grateful for what you have
  • Treat everyone equally and with respect
And my favourite:
  • Act on feelings of warmth and compassion.  Don’t be afraid to express feelings of kindness and goodwill.

I am really excited about developing my own loving-kindness practice.

I have only recently started focusing on it intensively, and practising loving kindness-meditation as well.  However I can already feel a huge difference.

A real sense of an opening and softening of my heart, and a very deep desire to help people, and to ease their suffering.

It’s such a beautiful feeling ♥

May you be happy

May you be safe

May you be healthy

May you be peaceful

Housework as practice (yes really!)

Okay, I might as well come out and admit it now …

… I love housework.

I never used to have a passion for it before I incorporated it into my spiritual practice, but now I use it as a time to reconnect with myself.

I especially find it useful if I am feeling stressed or anxious.

In fact I now find myself doing housework the long way in order to prolong the experience.  For example I clean all my floors by hand (by choice 🙂 ).  I love the physical activity, and repetitiveness of washing the floor by hand.

By doing this recently, I discovered that the floors in my 20yo rental house were actually white, and not cream with brown flecks as I had first thought.  It was a very rewarding experience to clean each tile by hand until it was sparkling white again.  (Yes, I may be a little bit OCD…)

But back to housework as practice…

For me, the key is to:

  • Try to concentrate purely on the chore that you are doing.  For example, if it’s washing the floor, then concentrate solely on washing the floor.  Try to focus all of your energy and thoughts into doing the best job that you possibly can.  Not rushing, or thinking of what has be done next, but immersing yourself totally in that activity.
  • Concentrate all your senses on the experience – the warmth of the water, the coolness of the floor beneath your feet, the smell of the disinfectant etc.
  • When you mind wanders (which it will), gently bring it back to the task at hand.

Instead of viewing housework as a chore, view it as a chance to relax and unwind and calm your mind.

By doing your housework in this way, not only are you meditating at the same time (bonus!  Multitasking!), you are developing your mindfulness, and… you will have a clean house at the end of it! 🙂