Thursday, 26 February 2009

Notes from a participant...

yesterday i met a group of interested contented women who meet in gurgaon to discuss various topics

the topic was mindfulness and the need to be conscious of the present moment we are in. we did an orange meditation with the great vietnamese philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh talks about

we looked at an orange and thought of all that went into its becoming what it was - the sunshine, the earth, the rain, the white flowers, the green fruit slowly ripening etc and then we peeled it and ate it with gratitude to God - the slow process made us fully conscious of what we were doing and aware of the miracle that nature has created

some women became poetic at the end of it and all of us were relaxed

the women who came were all not tied to a full day work routine (except me) and they meet once a month on week days ( so i can't go for future meetings) - they are well to do and educated and many are mothers like me and their faces show such happiness and friendliness that it is a joy to have met them - they don't let the everyday worries bog them down too much -they look around and find joy in being what they are

there was one man as well - he spoke so well - perhaps he is self employed

i have decided not to eat in front of the TV or computer or while reading a book hereafter - while i eat i will just eat and that way i will be content with less - this will automatically take care of my weight problem without a feeling of deprivation

another take-away from the meeting is to remember to be conscious of our breath as often as possible - at least to start with every time the cell phone rings and every time we come to a red light while driving - being aware of our breath will increase our awareness and relax us

thought i'll share this with you

Thursday, 19 February 2009

On Mindful Eating - Thich Nhat Hanh

We identify it with our mindfulness: "I know this is a piece of carrot. This is a piece of string bean". It only takes a fraction of a second. When we are mindful, we recognise what we are picking up. When we put it into our mouth, we know what we are putting into our mouth. When we chew it, we know what we are chewing. It's simple.

Some of us, while looking at a piece of carrot, can see the whole cosmos in it, can see the sunshine in it, can see the earth in it. It has come from the whole cosmos for our nourishment. You may like to smile to it before you put it in your mouth. When you chew it, you are aware that you are chewing a piece of carrot. Don't put anything else into your mouth, like your projects, your worries, your fear, just put the carrot in. And when you chew, chew only the carrot, not your projects or your ideas. You are capable of living in the present moment, in the here and the now. It is simple, but you need some training to just enjoy the piece of carrot. This is a miracle.

I often teach ‘orange meditation’ to my students. We spend time sitting together, each enjoying an orange. Placing the orange on the palm of our hand, we look at it while breathing in and out, so that the orange becomes a reality. If we are not here, totally present, the orange isn't here either. There are some people who eat an orange but don't really eat it. They eat their sorrow, fear, anger, past and future. They're not really present, with body and mind united.

Visualise the orange as a blossom, the sunshine and rain passing through it, then the tiny green fruit growing, turning yellow, becoming orange, the acid becoming sugar. The orange tree took time to create this masterpiece. When you are truly here, contemplating the orange, breathing and smiling, the orange becomes a miracle. It is enough to bring you a lot of happiness. You peel the orange, smell it, take a section, and put it in your mouth mindfully, fully aware of the juice on your tongue. This is eating an orange in mindfulness. It makes the miracle of life possible. It makes joy possible.