Eating Meditation: an introduction by Brother Freedom
With the energy of mindfulness, even eating can become sacred. We have a chance to get into deep contact with the miracle of food, and the people surrounding us, whether they are family, friends, colleagues or fellow-practitioners on the path.
Mindfulness allows us to look deeply to see the wonders of earth and sky in what we are eating and drinking. We can see the hard work and all the causes and conditions that have brought it to us in this moment, and gratitude and wonder naturally arise.
Looking deeply, we can see that a simple cup of tea, a tangerine, or a morsel of bread are nothing less than an “ambassador of the cosmos.” Eating with the energy of mindfulness we can experience our interbeing with the planet that is nourishing and sustaining us, and heal our feelings of loneliness and disconnection.
We can become fully aware of the miracle of our body – the taste buds in our mouth, and our body transforming food into energy and vitality. We also have a chance to encounter our habit energies around food, which may have been transmitted to us over many generations.
In Deer Park Monastery and all other Plum Village practice centres, we recite these five contemplations before eating:
This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings, and much hard and loving work. May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive this food. May we recognise and transform unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed and learn to eat with moderation. May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that reduces the suffering of living beings, stops contributing to climate change, and heals and preserves our precious planet. We accept this food so that we may nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, build our Sangha, and realise our ideal of serving all living beings. We tend to eat a little more slowly, to allow us to really savor every mouthful.
We train ourselves to chew each bite at least thirty times, to allow us to really slow down and encounter the food, without rushing to swallow. When we can do this, we have a chance to touch peace and freedom right in the present moment. Many of us like to put down our cutlery between mouthfuls, to allow our hands to relax and to not race forward to the next bite while we still have food in our mouth.
To express our gratitude and love for Mother Earth and for all species, since October 2007 all our practice centers follow a vegan diet.
We hope this video introduction supports you in your practice at home, or with your sangha.
Enjoy your practice!
This video is part of a series of introductions about the basic mindfulness practices in the Plum Village tradition.
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