Category Archives: Mindfulness

A Mindful Lunch

Whole green beans in a carton.

Image via Wikipedia

I just finished eating my lunch and well it was interesting, insightful, and odd to say the least. This was my first mindful meal and I thought not only would I record this for my reflection but I would share it. I also want to ask what your experience in mindfulness has been? If you have not done this maybe give it a try. Let me know how it goes. 

I sat down at my desk with my lunch like I do most days. My computer was on and typically I work while eating. Today for the smallest moment I thought I will be more spiritual about this meal and read a dharma book during my lunch. I clicked on my nook app, pulled up my current book, and proceeded to eat a fork full of green beans while reading the first sentence. That is when it hit me. Just two days ago in my FP class (a dharma / meditation class) when we broke off into discussion groups this exact topic came up. We sat there talking about being mindful and one person in my group mentioned being out to lunch and a person eating while playing games on his phone. She used this as an example of how we busy our minds. The other person in the group said she is often not mindful while eating and tends to eat while working. So as I sat with my phone in hand, book app opened, reading and eating it hit me that I should practice mindful eating. 

So I set my phone down. Move my plate in front of me. I was at this point excited that it dawned on me to do this and happy for this little growth moment. I picked up a fork full of food and take my first bite. My mind in a panick I start thinking thoughts. Great idea what do I do now. Chew chew chew. Hey I should write this day down. It might be useful. Do I do mindful house cleaning? Maybe I could start doing that as well. I could put head phones on and listen to The Joyful Path of Good Fortune. Oh wait, that is not mindful. I will just clean. Oh wait with all these thoughts I am not being mindful now. Come back. Chew chew. Panic again what am I suppose to think about. Humor comes up. Oh this is crazy. Why can’t I just sit and eat in this moment. Then I begin to think do the people in my class eat in the moment. Wow this is hard. I don’t like sitting here doing nothing. Chew Chew. Taste the green bean. Taste the water. Breathe ok I am doing it. Panic, good god how long is this lunch! Oh it has only been two minutes. TWO MINUTES!!! No wonder Monks are typically skinny, they must hate meal times. This is horrible. I have tasted the food now what do I do. I cannot not just sit here  re tasting. Is that a stereo type saying Monks are typically skinny? Is that politically correct? Would it be considered insulting? Oh there I go again thinking. Chew Chew. Oh this really is horrible. I started looking at things. I am then reading the label on the water bottle. Errr. Chew Chew. Taste the green bean. Maybe I need something more interesting than green beans. Maybe dessert or coffee instead of beans and water. Chew Chew. I should ………….

Then as I bring myself back to the moment and with a bit of gentle humor  I am telling myself this is crazy. I can eat in peace. I am not a … opps don’t say it that is not nice. Chew Chew. The green bean is salty and no longer hot. Just warm and juicy. String beans are juicy?! Who knew? I also noticed that the taste is really good. Thank you farmer for planting and working to bring me this. I pick up another bite and notice the plastic fork. Thank you inventor of plastic, canner, label maker, factory worker. Thank you Deann for teaching me this lesson of seeing all the hands that have had a part in feeding me. Thanks Deborah and Nicole for specifically talking about lunch so it would stick with me. Breathing, eating, grateful ! Breathing, eating, I am grateful. Of course the time ticked slow, my mind still wandered, and I had to continue to bring it back but all in all I felt good. I noticed for those brief seconds that the world moved together just so I could eat. From the plowed field, to  the desk where I was sitting, and even to the government ( I complained about daily) that employees me and the veterans who need my services. We really are one. 

It was brief but it was there I felt it. That calm peaceful second. I will not lie I was so happy to eat the last bite and know it was over. Hahaha! I think I will try this again tomorrow. I might even try tonight at dinner. Well maybe not that soon but lunch tomorrow for sure!

Peace and Flowers


Drive Thru Window for Enlightenment

Tonight during my meditation class  I asked my teacher a question about equanimity. She smiled and explaining that an entire course could be devoted to my question. I half jokingly asked if it could be summed up. Her response gave me this blog topic and a lot to think about. She said, “that Buddhism was not a drive thru window with quick fix answers and I needed to meditate and practice patience”.

I spent the next few day thinking and questioning whether  I was practicing in a fast food way? If I answer this with honesty then I would have to say yes. A few years ago I placed an order for one mala, a large Buddha statue, 4 dharma books, a cushion, oh don’t forget my order of Buddhist terminology, an empowerment, and throw in some sangha friends. I pulled up paid the fees of a supporting member and donated to a few charities, I then looked in my bag of Buddhism to make sure the order was correct and everything was there. Umm excuse me I think you left out my enlightenment.  Hello! I don’t see enlightenment in the bag it should have come with my dharma meal!  

I know it seems a bit funny but isn’t that the American way. Isn’t “Have it your way” a slogan that sums up this country. I grew up thinking I could make changes to suit myself but still receive the benefits as if nothing changed. I can see that mentality when I reflect back on my practice. I have skipped a day or week of meditation. I have flipped on Young and the Restless instead of opening a dharma book. I have practiced kindness on those I already like while continuing my distaste for the people I didn’t care for. I also walk along with indifference to a backdrop of people in the world that I don’t even see. I justified the glass of wine, the occasional steak, the lack of patience with the kids, and my lacking compassion for family and friends when they are feeling ill or financially strapped. Yet I become baffled when enlightenment evades me. I get discouraged when each virtuous act is not met with praise. I have even become bored when clarity did not happen after the shortest of meditations.

So why do I give less and expect more? Why do I put meditation off for another day? Why do I continue to put my needs over the entire worlds day after day? Buddha left his family behind and devoted his life to ending suffering. He sat under one Bodhi tree for 49 days straight in meditation to awaken. I sit for 45 minutes and peek at the meditation timer to see if I am almost done.  Maybe I expect more than I give because I live in a country where feeling good and instant gratification have a higher value than accountability and responsibility. I put meditation off because I have an unrealistic view on my control over death. I feel as if I still have time. When in reality I have no knowledge of how much time I have. I cherish myself more because that is all I have ever done and all that I know.

How do I make the changes needed and engage fully in Buddhism. Patience and perseverance are imperative. I need to become mindful and practice kindness. I must stop looking for the shortcuts. Recognize and rejoice the time I have put in, shown up, studied, and meditated. Then study dharma, meditate on dharma, apply dharma and repeat over and over and over.

**I am getting there one breathe at a time. **

Peace and Flowers