Apr 16, 2015
Many of my clients would like to try meditation, but feel they simply don’t have time in their hectic routines. Meditation isn’t about giving you another job to do. It’s about learning to apply a different mindset to the daily experiences that already make up your life. Being mindful means being fully present in the Here and Now, rather than being lost in a daydream about winning the lottery, or an imaginary dialogue you’d like to have with your boss.
Let’s take eating as a meditative focus. Next time you have a meal, simply notice what your mind does. The mind likes to escape into the past. So while you’re eating a delicious steak, your mind may be busy recounting your stressful work week. You’re lost in your head, eating on autopilot without even realizing it. And the mind also likes to run ahead to the future. You’re eating your steak, but your mind is already thinking over that desert menu. It can feel like your life keeps passing you by, while you’re just trying to keep your mental activity to a gentle roar.
So next time you’re eating, intentionally keep redirecting yourself to the present moment. Specifically, keep redirecting your awareness to the taste and texture of the food. This is not saying you should judge the food as good or bad, or even label it as containing this or that spice or flavor. Being in the present isn’t about thinking about what’s going on Here and Now. It’s about diving in. Taste your food, feel its texture in your mouth, notice how it feels as you swallow and it makes its way to your stomach. Notice these simple, bare sensations, but don’t complicate them. You’re not writing an article about your meal, you’re just trying to eat it, attentively, without your mind hijacking your direct sensory experience.
—James Robbins, M.A., LPC
Co-owner and Program Director