Practice eating and drinking whilst being as mindful of everything as possible, smell, touch, taste and use all you senses to perceive the food.
About 30 minutes.
Tip: The more time available to you the easier it can be to focus on the process of experiencing the meal. Avoid rushing it.
This has some guided elements in the beginning, later no guidance is required.
Tip: It can sometimes be helpful to be reminded to focus on a particular sense or just reminded to be mindful, you can do this every few minutes.
This meditation is best done whilst sitting down in a circle.
Tip: Place the food in front of you so you can remain in a circle throughout.
You need different kinds of food for this meditation.
Tip: Have a potluck where everyone brings one or a few dishes, this makes preparation much easier (and everyone will have something they can eat).
The one who hosts may read the following:
Eating is a very profound practice. During a meal, we focus all our attention on the food itself. It is a gift from heaven and earth. We are aware of the people who are eating this meal together with us. When we put something on our fork, a piece of tofu, a bean or a piece of bread, we are fully present. A piece of bread represents the whole cosmos. We can recognise in it the earth, the sunshine and the rain. In the celebration of the Eucharist, for example, bread is seen as the body of Christ. In the practice of mindful eating, we see the bread as the body of the cosmos. Perhaps we need a few seconds for the bread to reveal itself as the messenger of the cosmos. Then, when it has revealed itself, we smile at it. We put it in our mouth only when it has become real. We should be sure that we are only putting the bread in our mouth and not our worries or intentions. Then when we chew the bread, we should make sure that we are only chewing the bread and not our projects, our thoughts and worries. That is not very healthy. If we really chew mindfully, then we can get in touch with heaven and earth. And we will feel gratitude and joy throughout the meal.
The Buddha invites us to eat each meal with mindfulness and to eat in such a way that peace and joy are possible throughout the meal. In this way, each meal becomes a celebration of life.
During the meal we can draw our attention to the so-called Five Contemplations:
This food is a gift from the whole universe, from the earth, from heaven and from much loving work.
May we live in such a way that we receive this gift with joy and gratitude.
May we learn to live in moderation.
May we eat only food that nourishes us and avoids illness.
We accept this food in order to be able to realise the path of understanding and love.
Then do the following:
Distribute the food in your circle. The host starts with one dish, presents it to the next person and then hands it over. The receiving person bows to the giving person, takes what they want from the container, bows and then takes the container and presents it to the next person. The process is then repeated around the circle, and also repeated for every dish.