As humans, we eat a lot and I just learned in my holistic health class that we eat for an average of 6years in a lifetime. It is insane how much we eat but even more insane? the fact that we do not take the time to think about where our food came from. How many hands touched them, how they were transported, and where they were produced. I practiced mindful eating in class last week and if someone told me I would be doing that in college, I would have looked at them very weirdly. So thank you Professor Tinios for that experience and more. I left class thinking that it would be great to share with students that do not have the luxury of taking this class. For this practice, you will need a grape, and someone to read this to you. Here it goes;
Settle back in you meditation posture, close your eyes, and take a breath or two to relax. The grape you have in front of you didn”t magically appear at the supermarket. it actually has a long history. As I describe this, let your mind imagine the history of the grape. Feel free to make other associations of your own.
Some time ago, someone planted a grape seed. that grape seed began to sprout, and it grew into a vine. There was soil, sun, rain and water, and perhaps fertilizer, there were humans who tended to the grape. The vine grew and grew, and ultimately it began to sprout fruit. The fruit ripened until it was ready to be harvested. Then someone came along and cut the vines, whose grapes may have been packaged at that point, wrapped in plastic, loaded on trucks, and driven to supermarkets, where you purshased them.
There are also many secondary connections to reflect on… all of the humans involved in the process. There were people who tended, people who harvested, people who drove trucks. And we don’t know the circumstances under which the farm workers lived and worked; perhaps their lives were quite difficult. We do know that each person had a set of parents . And their parenhts had parents, and their parents had parents. And so on. And each person was clothed and fed and ate countless amounts of food. And where did that food come from? Let your mind roam and imagine the answer to this question. The truck, for instance- where did that come from? Oil and metal and plastic and glass. How about the roads the truck drove on to cart this grape to market? Who tarred, cemented, and paved those roads? Let your mind consider this. Make one more connection you haven’t yet thought of or I haven’t described.
Now notice what is going on inside yourself. How do you feel? There is no right or wrong answer to this question, which is a really important point with mindfulness. All we do is find out what is true in this moment for us. You might be feeling some sense of appreciation. Or you might be feeling some sadness, or sleepiness, or anything at all. Just check in with yourself and notice what is happening in this present moment.
Now open your eyes and pick up the grape. Look at it as though you have never seen a grape before–as if you were a little child who has been handed her first grape. You can roll it around in your fingers; you can notice the shape and the color and the way the light on it changes; you can find out whether it has a smell or a sound. See if you can look at the grape with the curiosity and wonder a child brings to a first experience– that is mindfulness.
Now bring the grape up close to your mouth and notice as you do so whether something inside you says, I want to eat it! Simply be aware of that impulse. Then close your eyes, open your mouth, and put the grape in. Begin to chew, but slow down the process. Use your awareness to feel and sense and taste; there’s so much to explore– flavors, textures, sounds. And there’s saliva–your teeth and your tongue know exactly what to do.
You also might notice what is going on in your mind. Maybe you are comparing this grape to one you had last week and thinking, oh,it’s not as good, or, Oh, this one’s better than the one I had last week. Maybe you want another grape immediately. Maybe you are thinking, Hmmm, this is kind of silly,or, This is so interesting! Truly anything could be happening. With mindfulness, we simply notice. We become aware.
When you finish the first grape, eat the second grape with the same quality of attention. When you finish the second grape, notice your whole body present here, and when you are ready, open your eyes.
This practice is from the book; Fully present; The Science, art, and practice of mindfulness. Written by Susan L. Smalley, PHD AND Diana Winston. Here’s a link to the book on Amazon: Fully Present
I absolutely cannot take any credit for this amazing work of art but I did type every word of it and now my hands are numb. I hope you get a chance to do this practice and also enjoy all the benefits that come from it. Again, Thanks Professor Leslie for sharing this with me.