Voices echo, reverberating off wooden floors and tall ceilings. Thundering youth spill into the dining hall, arriving at their seats they stand and wait. Each child places their hands in front, to establish focus, silence, a collective chorus resinates through the dining hall: Om Mani Padme Hun (conscious connection, Jewel enlightenment purity of the lotus indivisible unity) – one of the many Buddhist mantras’ the children connect to throughout their day. The children sit and the principal leads the meal inviting all to serve their neighbour then enjoy their fruit in silence. A contemplative hush vibrates throughout the room. A practice in mindful eating creates a sense of reflection, a deep connection and awareness of the food presented, calmness of the mind and an activate connection to the digestive system for these Melbourne primary school students.
There isn’t one way to embark on mindful eating, but many, just like approaching anything new, take a malleable approach to make it your own. A couple of things that ensure a more mindful meal include disconnection from the technology network, creating an environment that is relaxing, taking the time to breath in the aroma of your meal so your focus is brought into the presence of the task; the stimulation of your digestion, the nurturing of your being. If you are alone don’t let your mind wander, find that space where calm and clarity exists, devour your meal with your eyes and connect with your body. As engaging with mindful eating moves to the top of your menu the foods you seek will morph into healthier and easily digestible alternatives, portion size self-regulates and a deeper understanding of your inner food desires can be expressed.
The most engaging thing we can do, is to listen to our body. Some bodies are loud and some are quiet, what does your body say? Are you sensitive to certain foods? Coeliac? Fructose or Lactose Intolerant? Sensitive to chemicals? Allergic to bad taste and poor grammar? Where does the mind set begin to effect the bodies function? The mind and the body are one, they are not a separate entity. The sooner we raise our level of awareness and consciousness, the quicker we eradicate digestive and emotional dis-ease.
Mindful eating isn’t just a solo performance, nor does it need to be practiced alone at home, on a vapassana retreat or at a philosophical primary school. Mindful eating isn’t just a fad, mindful eating is a mindset that can be absorbed into the fabric of your life. Choose to establish a deep inner connection and create a conscious awareness of the food you consume to achieve balance, vitality and energetic harmony within.
By Jemima Rose
Spiritual Philosopher, Professional Health food Guru & Chinese Medicine Doctor.
Jemima Rose is founder and owner of ‘Medicinal’ and RISE Wellness in East St Kilda.