I always thought that I was the only one who heard the phrase, “be in the moment” and asked “WHAT?” I was using that phrase in a previous article and one of my editors made a comment that made me think that perhaps I wasn’t the only one whom this gave the willies to.
The concept comes from the Buddhist traditions of mindfulness. Conscious eating, conscious hugging…being where you are fully in the moment, and focusing on the here and now.
Apparently we have 60,000 thoughts per day running around in our heads, many of them are repetitive. Mindfulness, consciously aware of or focused attention on what you are doing, or “being in the moment”, however you want to phrase it, boils down to quieting the mind and noticing, really paying attention to the here and now. When you think about it, it is after all, the only moment you can count on. It takes practice to quiet the mind and really focus on the here and now. We have had a lot of practice multitasking, now is the time to focus.
Look at our eating habits. The French have one of the richest diets in the western world, but they have some of the lowest cholesterol levels. How does that work? Well, they generally take two hours to eat their main meal. Allowing their digestive system the time to truly do the work it was designed to do…thoroughly digest the food.
We could take a leaf from their book and be in the moment. Below is my take on the conscious eating meditation. Start with a bite-sized piece of your favorite soft candy, fruit or treat. My favorite is the Milky Way Midnight. Take the time to gaze at it, then to smell it. Wonder at everything that went into bringing it to this time and place for your enjoyment. Notice the softening of your gaze as you do this, the watering of your mouth as you smell it. Take another deep belly breath, savoring the smell. Now, close your eyes and take a small bite. Feel the texture, notice your delight as it fills your whole mouth, touching every taste bud. Contemplate how it got to your hand. Consider the seed, the earth, the sun and the rain that created its ingredients. The farmer or farmworker who harvested it. The people who processed it and shipped it. The people who stocked it on the shelves and served it to you. Chew it slowly and thoroughly, savoring it the whole time. Taste the sunshine in it as evaporates the dew. After you swallow, notice the lingering flavor in your mouth. When that has faded away, repeat the process, starting with gazing at it and smelling it. After you finish the last bite, keep your eyes closed for 30 seconds, savoring where you’ve been.
After doing this exercise several times over a few weeks, this had the added benefit of naturally decreasing the number of sweets I ate. One (sometimes two) was enough. I had more satisfaction from eating this one small piece of candy then what we often do, eat a whole candy bar in less time.
Enjoying this one small piece of candy is just a small example of the benefits to be found in being in the moment.
Living Joyously Tip for the Day:
Be in the moment!
Pick one item each day to eat consciously