Week 1: Eating
Eating can be a sacred act. This week, try to approach eating with the same mindfulness you have when eating and drinking at The Lord's table during communion.
Spiritual Practice Details:
Eating can be a sacred act - something that is holy and worthy of respect because of it’s connection to God. It is quite ironic that during a time of fasting we begin with a spiritual act of feasting.
For this exercise, start with small bite or small amount of food. As you continue the practice during the week, you can try to sustain it throughout an entire meal. For now, start with a bite-sized amount of food. Imagine the bite is your only piece of food, your last meal.
- Explore the food. Look at what you will eat and, if you can, pick it up. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What do you feel when you smell or touch your food? What memories or thoughts are stirred up?
- Explore your heart. Are you actually hungry? Thankful? Tired? Sit with the feeling for a few breaths and allow it to shift, intensify, or diminish.
- Explore your food's journey. Consider all the people involved in creating, harvesting, processing, and distributing the food you are about to eat. Consider their working conditions and locations, their wages and families, and the economic conditions under which they work. Explore the ecological journey. Consider the sun, which nourished the plants that fed your food; the soil and water that nurtured the plants and animals.
- Explore your heart. Close your eyes and focus on your food and your body's ability to eat and digest. Make every jaw movement intentional, nothing automatic. Close your eyes and focus on the sensation of chewing and tasting. Listen to the sounds of chewing.
Pay attention to the sensations as the food begins its own journey to your stomach.
Is your body still hungry or are you full? What if that were all that you had to eat? How does that make you feel? What emotions rise to the surface?
- Allow God to speak to you or teach you through the process of contemplative eating. Allow yourself to feel whatever feelings you have. Allow God to speak or teach or lead you to any new thoughts or learning through the process of mindfully eating and being aware not only of your chewing but the journey of the food. If our food was not so plentiful or consistent would we more naturally bends toward more mindfully eating it?
Questions for Reflection:
- What moment had a significant impact on you?
- When did you feel most spiritually connected?
- What is your biggest spiritual lesson?
- What did you hear through the process?
- How did the experience touch or intersect with your life?
- What might God be leading you to do?
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