20 Nov Eating rather than saying “Grace”…mindfulness as a way of life!
from The Happiness Diet's blog (HERE)
In one of his less well known novels, "The Island", Aldous Huxley describes his version of the ideal, utopian society. One in which divisive politics and religion are replaced by acceptance and tolerance; where education involves real skills for living a healthy and happy life rather than just memorising facts; and where, among other things, parents are helped to raise their children by "mutual adoption collectives" or neighbours who can assist where and when necessary.
In reality it's an overly idealised vision but it is, after all, a fictional exercise, but it ultimately includes many ideas those of us living in the real world could well benefit from giving serious consideration to.
In one scene, for example, a family sits down to eat and the visitor is introduced to their version of saying grace or giving thanks for their food. Rather than just saying a prayer, or a few words, the family (young children included) take up the first mouthful of food and spend a full one minute savouring each and every aspect of what it is their eating – they're encouraged to focus on the taste and texture, the smell and changing flavours, and anything else they happen to notice.
The minute passes in blissful silence with the visitor surprised by how enjoyable the experience is and by how much he noticed that he'd never noticed before.
Pay attention; here and now.
These are constant messages in the book (so much so that the local birds have been trained to repeat the previous two phrases, over and over again!) and especially, in this context, to healthy eating. And this is my message for today…mindful eating is something about which I've written before although it's always worth repeating important messages over and over again. But most importantly, what I loved about this scene was the way mindfulness was fully integrated into their meal and their eating as though it were a regular and normal part of life…which it was!
This is what we need to do to achieve success when it comes to health and wellbeing and happiness (including healthy eating and appropriate dieting or weight management)…we need to make healthy behaviours, such as mindful eating, the norm; so we don't even think about them; so we just do them; as per normal!
So next time you sit down to eat take the first minute to savour the food your consuming; enjoy the taste and texture, quietly and slowly. And then go on and enjoy your meal. But do this every time you sit for a meal and make mindfulness a regular part of your daily life. Because with mindfulness will come health and happiness. And surely that's a good enough reason for all!