I like to surf the Internet or watch a DVD and have a snack at the same time. Hours pass somewhere far, far away until the moment when I feel my fingers fumbling around on the bottom of the box of ginger snaps… Wait–what happened? This was a brand-new box! It could be ice cream, chips and salsa, or a tub of Mediterranean hummus with a box of crackers, but when it happens, I’ll discover I’ve somehow finished the whole thing without tasting a single bite. This is because I use eating to zone out and not be aware. I’m not sure why, but it’s very comforting, and I’m not alone; the movie theatres are full of people with huge tubs of popcorn, glazed eyes fixed on the screen, hand going from tub to mouth again and again.
I don’t know how many times I’ve decided to pay attention to what I eat and make mindful eating part of my spiritual practice and then immediately forgot. I must have some kind of issue here–I think I’m addicted to not paying attention. But this morning, while I was making a peanut butter and banana sandwich for breakfast, I remembered, Oh yeah, I want to practice mindful eating.
I began by slicing the banana and noticed for the first time the star-like pattern of inverted triangles in the center of each slice. I took time to notice the aroma of the banana and the open jar of peanut butter. I took the sandwich outside and paid attention to the sweet and salty taste of the first bite. I thought about where this food came from. I bought the banana at New Seasons, and they tell you where all their produce comes from, but I had not noticed and just grabbed a couple on my way past that table. I had no idea where the peanuts came from, either. But the bread–it was Dave’s Killer Bread from a local bakery. On every bag is Dave’s story of years in prison before he decided to change his life. He created some incredible bread recipes. Dave’s Killer Bread–the bread of new beginnings and second chances. It’s packed with seeds. The bananas, peanut butter, and bread all combined to make a sweet, yeasty aroma. It was a very good breakfast under the hazelnut tree with old man’s beard and blackberry vines trailing down everywhere.
I’ve decided to keep eating mindfully for the month of September. Maybe writing about my experience will help me remember to pay attention!