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The Best Way To Practice Mindfulness In The Kitchen

 

A clever way to approach any culinary experience is by exercising mindfulness in the kitchen.

 

“In preparing food, it is essential to be sincere and to respect each ingredient regardless of how coarse or fine it is…. In handling and preparing wild herbs, do so as you would the ingredients for a rich feast, wholeheartedly, sincerely, clearly…. In nourishing the seeds of living in the Way, rich food and wild grass are not separate”.

               Eihei Dogen in Tenzo Kkyokun (Instructions for the Buddhist Cook)

 

 

What Is Mindfulness In The Kitchen About?

I’ve been practicing yoga for years and recently decided I wanted to try meditating. I realized how hard it is to sit and be still as my thoughts race and my monkey mind chatters away. I needed help.

A couple of concepts that are supposed to help meditation practice are mindfulness and staying present in the moment. So I’ve been trying to incorporate more mindfulness in my daily activities, like cooking, for example.

Sometimes cooking can seem like a chore; just another task to get through on a busy day. But I’ve found if I approach cooking with a mindful attitude many of the tasks involved in putting a meal on the table can help bring focus, clarity and even be profoundly pleasurable.

At first the idea of practicing mindfulness in the kitchen seemed a bit of a stretch. But then I thought about how boring may be chopping food, for example.

 

How To Practice Awareness While Cooking

 

1. Working with a sharp knife demands staying in the present moment, otherwise bring on the bandages!

It’s also one of those not-too-demanding mental tasks like gardening or knitting that can be very soothing and therapeutic at least for crazy cooks like me.

 

2. Bringing mindfulness into the kitchen also involves the senses.

The scent of fresh herbs, the earthy aroma of mushrooms, and various vegetable smells as they are being prepped. I started appreciating the prism of colorful foods on the cutting board and on the counter as cooking commenced. I even started noticing the sound of water boiling, or how hot the skillet is by the way it sounds as it sizzles. The tactile process of shelling peas or shucking corn brought me an appreciation of food in its beautiful natural state.

 

Who wouldn’t agree that admiring the symmetrical patterns of kernels on an ear of corn or adorable peas nestled in their pods isn’t more grounded than opening a bag of frozen processed vegetables?

For a long time, I’ve felt that cooking for others is an act of love. In taking the time to prepare a wholesome meal for your loved ones (including yourself!) you are literally sustaining life and showing your concern for the well-being of others. Carefully selecting ingredients to please palates and focusing on healthy choices truly are like handmade gifts that can be given at each meal.

 

3. After taking the time to prepare something lovely, I realized it was time to take mindfulness to the table.

Eating with others and taking the time to appreciate the gift of food in the moment helps to bring me a feeling of satisfaction. So now I turn off the electronics, put the paper aside and give my attention to food, family, and the pleasures of the table. Experiencing mindfulness in the kitchen is both calming and delightful. Give it a go!

 

SparkYourBloom Today And Everyday!

 

Belinda is a writer, editor, explorer, cook and gardener. She loves to travel and goes wherever frequent flyer miles will take her. When she is not roving round the planet, diving in the sea, or skiing down a mountain she might be found working in her impractically large vegetable garden or sitting amidst a stack of cookbooks concocting ideas for some crazy new thing to cook in the kitchen. She has practiced yoga for twenty years and two years ago started a meditation practice, which is still very much a work in progress. She lives in Northern California.

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