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Mindful Eating

karastikarasti BreathingMinnesota Veteran

Just thought this was a nice article by Thubten Chodron. I have done most of the things she suggests, but I never thought to think of people who have poor meals and "offer" my enjoyment of the food to them. I'm not sure what I think of that. Obviously, it's good to practice things that give us more connection with people to enhance bodhicitta and empathy. But at the same time it kind of makes me think "What good, exactly, comes from me offering something tasty to someone who can't have it?" They don't exactly benefit from that. But I suppose the point is for me to develop that empathy and appreciation and perhaps to spur me into action.

I frequently find that when I am practicing mindful eating, that there is a lot of stuff I eat that I don't actually like. I might like the initial zing of sweet or salty, but the mush and aftertaste left over is gross. Yet even when I record that in my mental notes,it doesn't stop me from craving sour cream and onion chips the next day, lol. Humans are just weird. "I know this isn't healthy and I don't even like it, but I'm craving it!" My sister said she gets really grossed out when she eats mindfully. I told her maybe she's eating the wrong food.

Anyhow, without further delay:

http://thubtenchodron.org/2016/01/understanding-the-mind/

DavidupekkaStingRayWalkerShoshinNirvana

Comments

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Indeed. My initial thought when I read it was thinking about how my family (and most I know) thank God and Jesus for the food, and the complete lack of connection to what it really takes to put the food on the table. It is still weird to me to thank Jesus for the food, it's not like he has anything to do with it, lol. So it's nice look at it from such different perspectives and to really consider where it comes from and what goes into it. Dedication (in any manner) isn't something I have gotten into much. It just lacks sincerity for me, so it feels dishonest in a sense a guy. I have problems with anything that isn't tangible and logical, lol. I can understand from a point of view of using it to develop things in myself that translate into action in the world, like tonglen does that for me. But right now anyhow for me to sit down and enjoy a meal and offer the taste to prisoners just does nothing for me or for them. It feels a lot like the Jesus prayers at the dinner table-something to do that has no real meaning. My kids have to recite meal prayers when they visit their paternal grandmother and they don't even know what the words mean, lol

    Walker
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Well, for me, praying and thanking 'God' or Jesus for our food made sense to me and not just because I grew up in the Christian church/faith. For me, it has always been a way of thanking whatever forces managed to come together to create our world, whether it was created on purpose or accidentally.

    I enjoy my food -- fast OR slow. :mrgreen:

    Shoshin
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    When you have the understanding and sincerity that goes with it, yes. When you know what meaning goes into what you are saying. I was taught a lot of prayers and forced to say them without any meaning behind them. So for me it is more meaningful to actually parse out the meaning behind it. It is more meaningful for me to (in my mind) thank mother nature, thank the farmers, the workers, the truck drivers, etc. For most people, the meaning is lost and words are just words. My kids have no idea why they have to say "come Lord Jesus, be our guest and let these gifts to us be blessed. Amen." means. They know what it means to know where food comes from and how to be grateful for it. But the empty words don't make that connection because they were not raised Christian yet are forced to say them. Anyhow, just other parts of my Christian-based hangups that keep coming up.

    Even in a sense, I can see thanking God when when that label is assigned to creationary force. However, Jesus makes no sense to me, lol. But neither did the holy trinity (although it was not a huge focus in our church growing up). To me, since I was very young, Jesus was just a man who lived. A special man, yes, but just a man like Buddha was just a man. It makes no more sense to me to thank Buddha for my food, as he had nothing to do with it, lol.

    Walker
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `     ` `     ` Outa Range Fridays thru Sundays South Carolina, USA Veteran

    Interesting Article: I found the third-to-the-last paragraph a scenario, as it were, for a beautiful meditation:

    Whenever we eat, we can think of all the causes and conditions by which we’ve received the food. In terms of physical causes, there are the seeds, the ground, sunshine, water and so on. Those are the substantial causes, which actually turn into the result, which is the food. Then there are the co-operative conditions, such as the people who help cultivate the crops and who harvested, packaged and transported them. This connects us to the kindness of sentient beings, and to how we receive everything we have through our dependence upon them. Reflecting in this way is part of the method side of the path, which helps us to generate bodhicitta—the wish to become a fully awakened buddha, in order to repay the kindness of all sentient beings.

    Thanks for the link!

    Walker
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Nirvana yes,that is what caught my eye the most, too :) I really enjoyed it.

  • I've always found that I enjoy food much more when I slow down to eat. I tend to eat a more appropriate quantity this way too. A small bowl of sour cream & onion chips (I like them too ;) )eaten slowly is actually far more satisfying than plonking down in front of the TV with a bag and stuffing my face till I feel overfull and gross.

    As far as thanking Jesus, or God, or Buddha for a meal, well, I have to say it never really resonated with me either. A small time to reflect on being grateful for all the people that did bring it to my plate does make sense though.

    karastilobsterShoshin
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I am grateful to Tesco for bringing me ice-cream. ;)

    ShoshinWonderingSeeker
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @Walker totally agree, I am the same. I enjoy a small helping much more, and when I am paying attention that is what I prefer of course. It's amazing how much we can eat when we are mindless or stressed or whatever.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited February 7

    I found when I was following my 'fast' diet, it helped me to envisage or conjure up those who ate nothing the whole day - not necessarily through choice, but because they had no means of eating. No funds, no food no choice.
    It kind of made me think that if they were able to endure such a condition, surely, I could do the same....?

    lobsterkarastiStingRay
  • howhow Veteran
    edited January 2016

    @Shoshin

    Nice!
    It seems to be a derivative (or vise versa) of a Soto Zen mealtime verse

    We should think deeply of the ways and means by which this food has come.
    We should consider our merit in accepting it.
    We should protect ourselves from error by excluding greed from our minds.
    We will eat lest we become lean and die.
    We accept this food so that we may become enlightened.

    Do you know of it's source?

    ShoshinNirvanaStingRay
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited January 2016

    @how said:
    @Shoshin

    Nice!
    It seems to be a derivative (or vise versa) of a Soto Zen mealtime verse

    We should think deeply of the ways and means by which this food has come.
    We should consider our merit in accepting it.
    We should protect ourselves from error by excluding greed from our minds.
    We will eat lest we become lean and die.
    We accept this food so that we may become enlightened.

    Do you know of it's source?

    @how
    I'm afraid I can't remember the exact source , I came across it a few years back when watching a youtube clip of Chinese American nun "Chan tradition" when she was explaining what goes on at her temple (I think was somewhere in LA) and saying they would recite this verse before mealtime...It was the Master at the temple who had taught her it....So it's quite possible there is a "Soto Zen" connection with the verse you have quoted.... :)

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @how, your verse especially, isn't it part of Oryoki?

    Shoshin
  • LionduckLionduck Veteran
    edited January 2016

    There is the story of a learned monk who received a gift of rice. In deep appreciation, he wrote a letter extolling the importance of rice and the great benefit (blessing) awaiting the giver of the rice.
    'Mindful eating' is thus (to me) eating the food before me with awareness and appreciation.

    Awareness is understanding of the source of the food, the process and people whom and by which it ended up on this plate or in my hands, the taste, texture, aroma, etc..
    [No, my friends, we need not go through the whole step-by-step every time we eat. If you do, that is one monkey you'd better restrain lest you starve to death at mealtime. ;) )

    Appreciation, of course, is for all the above and the life sustaining properties of the food.

    Then, of course, there are @SpinyNorman's ice cream delights. =) :3

    Peace to all

    Shoshin
  • howhow Veteran

    @karasti said:
    @how, your verse especially, isn't it part of Oryoki?

    Thanks Karasti
    I assumed that it was based out of Shoji-ji Japan and had some scriptural basis but coming from Oryoki makes a lot of sense.
    I'll check it out.

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @Lionduck said: Then, of course, there are @SpinyNorman's ice cream delights. =) :3

    I eat ice-cream as quickly as possible in order not to build up attachment to the taste. Hee hee.

    silverSilverWolf42712Kaydeekay
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited January 2016

    Ahh...I suspect you and I, SN, are the original speed-eaters around here.

    The little light bulb just went on -- my next meditation/mindfulness subject! o:)

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I have to focus on slowing down otherwise I eat so fast my food isn't even fully chewed and I can feel the big chunk taking it's sweet time getting down the pipe, lol. I do enjoy it more and eat less when I pay attention. However, it results in wasting a lot when we eat out because I get full before I am done. Plus side, I don't get stuffed.

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Thanks @karasti - nice to know I'm not alone. It's a challenge for me also, because I'm missing a few molars on the upper left side. tmi - I know... :3

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    When I think of "mindful eating" this often comes to mind... "I'll have what she's having!" :)

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Where's a ~rolleyes~ emoticon when you need one....? :silenced:

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited January 2016

    @federica said:
    Where's a ~rolleyes~ emoticon when you need one....? :silenced:

    Normally located in ones head................

    silverTiggerdhammachick
  • KaydeekayKaydeekay UK Explorer

    I kind of like this idea...for me the idea of offering or sharing your food with someone less fortunate - is helpful because when we eat we are so attached to food - or i am especially lol - so thinking of others and mentally offering cultivates generosity and compassion and lessens that attachment, making eating more joyful and less like "this is going to make me happy" and then to keep mindlessly eating because you are desperately attached and searching for that happiness. Not that this is the case for everyone, but it is quite for me! I think I will try this :). Something I try to do with my experience is relate them to others, so whenever I am sad or unhappy in any way, I always try and say "what I feel other people feel too" or I do some brief Tonglen practice with that feeling; it just opens up the heart and the experience and allows for spaciousness, I feel like this could do that for eating and attachment, in a different way :). Thanks for sharing :).

    Tigger
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited February 7

    @Kaydeekay said: ...I kind of like this idea...for me the idea of offering or sharing your food with someone less fortunate - is helpful because when we eat we are so attached to food - or i am especially lol - so thinking of others and mentally offering cultivates generosity and compassion and lessens that attachment, making eating more joyful and less like "this is going to make me happy" and then to keep mindlessly eating because you are desperately attached and searching for that happiness.

    Funnily enough, I'm just watching a BBC programme originally titled "Back in Time for Dinner" where a family of today is transported back in time to a different era to sample and savour the lifestyle of way back when - and it's all made as authentic as it possible to be, by the home decor, clothing, accessories, kitchen equipment and dietary fashions, tastes and mores of that particular era, being adhered to, to the letter... The programme focuses mainly on home life, and how families dealt with everyday situations, particularly surrounding diet and etiquette...The first series began back in the '50's... every day was a new year....

    This time, the programme has been titled "Further Back in Time for Dinner" which threw the family back in time to the 1900's and saw them enjoying an expenditure of over 60% of their annual budget on food (we currently spend about 15%) focusing mainly on meat - all kinds, including game and offal...pork chops, devilled kidneys and meat pies for breakfast, and more meat in all forms during the day... plus the added bonus of a maid - who did everything required in the house - cooking, cleaning, laundry, shopping - from early morning until late at night.

    Then - came The Great War - and suddenly, overnight, they lost their food supplies (such luxuries as grains, cereals, meat and mechanical aids were largely imports from Europe and the USA) to German U-boats torpedoing supply ships, and their Maid - who left them to join the War Effort, and became a Land Girl. They went from eating vast quantities of meat in plenty all day every day, to eating a person's partial daily ration (10oz beef) , now feeding a family of 4, for a week. The well-off managed to cope with the horrendously rising prices - the poor, literally starved, and it was during this period of War that the Government introduced National Insurance, Daylight Savings - and Soup Kitchens.
    We accommodated a quarter of a million Belgian refugees who fled their country after the invasion and onslaught of the German Forces (who massacred them throughout towns and villages) and we introduced a Belgian way of cooking for them, to make them feel at home.

    We embraced vegetarianism (also largely thanks due to Emily Pankhurst's social influence) and learnt to create food dishes with an awful lot of substitute ingredients... and we also learnt to cook in a Hay box, a recommendation (with an educational instruction booklet) from the Government, while Gas and Electricity were rationed too - something still practised with great success, today. (When I was much younger, my father once cooked a leg of lamb this way and it was amazing!)

    The programme is very telling, sobering and extremely educational and informative, and I'm telling you now - unless we accept that we very much need to guard viable resources, and work with nature to enhance and maintain our health and lifestyle, there is absolutely no reason to take for granted that it won't ever happen: more hard times could at one point, poke their heads over the horizon....

    Even abstinence and cutting back is a luxury, because it's a choice. It's something we do to maintain a healthy connection with Nature, but it's not enforced, obligatory or necessary.
    We do it, because we can; we have a choice. It makes us feel as if we are doing something worthy.

    but were it to be an obligation and a means of survival, then that would be a different social 'experience' altogether.
    It's all very well being free to buy Quinoa and tofu now. Were it the only sustainable source of nourishment, we'd be in big trouble.

    ownerof1000oddsocksKaydeekay
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    I'll have to see if I can find those programs to watch here @federica. Very interesting. People here tend to live closer to the land than many but at the same time many of those who hunt their own game and make use of everything they possibly can (and donating the hides to Native tribes) still spend every evening in the bar which is always interesting to me.

    I've been reading a series of books about natural movement, and boy are they interesting. When one looks at and tries to focus on a more natural life it's a lot of work, and significant chunk of time. I'm not talking about fad paleo diets and stuff like that. Just, thinking about what it really takes to sustain our lives and the work we've shuffled off to others. If we try to take on even some of that ourselves, its' significant work. I don't think we've done ourselves any favors by living comfortable lives. Sedentary living and poor eating are diseases of affluent nations. And things in those nations always ebb and flow, there are good times and then there are awful times and you always come back around to them eventually. Not having a clue how to actually support our lives isnt' going to do humanity any favors. Or maybe it will, depending how you look at it.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I don't know if this would work for you @karasti ....

    The page contains videos from the series, but if you can, see the trailer, BBC2....

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    @federica It appears they will work just fine, thanks! It's a very snowy afternoon and I've had a headache for the past 6 hours thanks to the storm moving through, a good afternoon for some tea and fun videos!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited February 7

    @karasti, having re-read the thread to note its meandering habit, and refresh my memory of the discussion's development, you mention eating "junk food" (my term, not yours) the aftertaste of which, although unpleasant and undesirable, does nothing to prevent you craving the same, the following day.

    I guess it may be common knowledge that the additives and flavourings in what might loosely be grouped under the umbrella of 'junk food' actually contain components which train the body to crave and require more. So we become addicted to junk foods, because - guess what? It's precisely the intention of the developers and manufacturers that we do exactly that.

    (I love that it says '5 foods' then brackets 'all Fast Food' under one sub-title....!)

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Indeed. Food scientists. It's a crazy thing they do.
    I have pretty good luck with junk food when I just don't buy it, which I mostly avoid by not going to the store hungry. It works out pretty well, lol. But yes, when it's here, I will eat all of whatever it is, even when I am full and even when it starts to taste bad. Even if it's been months since I ate it.

    Tigger
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    The only kind of junk food I eat is Japanese... katsu curry ftw!

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Oh well, if we're going to talk 'Guilty pleasures', mine's Bombay Bad Boy pot noodles with cheese strings. I have mentioned this before - but the extent to which I ate this muck is actually terrifying now I think back on it. I ate at least one, once a day, for what must have been nearly a year.

    I'm actually genuinely appalled, if not somewhat ashamed of the fact.
    I'm lucky if I let myself do that once a month, if that, now.....

    Genuine addiction, if ever there was one..... :scream:

    lobsterKaydeekay
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