What counts as a mindfulness meditation?
Updated: Feb 5
Mindfulness is basically bringing awareness to what we are experiencing it, with kind curiosity. So we can use anything as an object for meditation - eating, drinking and even taking out the rubbish! Anything can count as a meditation.
Mindful eating and drinking
When you eat or drink something, this can also be a great opportunity for you to rest in the present. (I’m not talking about alcohol here!). The first step is to find a time when you can eat without distractions like our devices, or the radio or television. It might be easier to focus if you are eating alone, or if you have told whoever you are with that you are going to eat mindfully for a while. Even if you don't tell anyone what you are doing, you can maybe just take a find slow, mindful mouthfuls and they won't notice.
1. Before you eat, take a few breaths.
2. Look at your food, notice the colours and patterns.
3. Maybe savour what it smells like before putting it in your mouth.
4. Notice the arm movements as you bring the food to your mouth.
5. When you have it in your mouth, move it around a little with your tongue. What does it feel like? Is it changing just by being in your mouth?
6. How is the taste and texture as you chew? Can you stay focused on what you are eating rather than getting your fork ready for the next bite?
7. What does it feel like to swallow?
8. Continue to bring curiosity to your experience as you eat, even if you speed up. And notice how eating with this much presence makes you feel, in both body and mind.
If you want to delve deeper, you could also consider how the food was connected to something that nourished its growth. Can you see the sunlight, the rain, the earth, the farmer, the manufacturing or delivery process in your food?
Many of us often eat out of habit, stress (or actually any emotion), simply because the food is there or just out of habit. Bringing a mindful awareness to why I am eating, as well as what I'm eating and in what way, all helps me have a happier and more balanced relationship with food. Food and eating are excellent things to focus on for a meditation, and can be explored just as well sitting at a table as in a lotus position.
I have also written about the Raisin meditation, mindful eating and also over eating in other mindfulness blogs, and no doubt will continue this journey of discovery in the future! I have also recorded a guided mindful eating meditation which you can use to practise with. This practice can be done with any food, it need not be a raisin!
We don’t need sit in a lotus position to meditate! Sitting with nothing to do but focus on our body, thoughts and feelings is great when we make the time for that. But meditation can be a lot more than this and giving attention to any activity can help us rest in the present moment.
Routine activities are perfect for meditation, things like brushing your teeth, washing up, hanging the washing, cooking, cleaning - in particular anything you find boring! Take a moment to notice what things look like, their textures, any sound and smells. You might have all sorts of thoughts and emotions pop up while you're doing this. See if you can let these come and go, and keep your focus on your senses with what you are actually doing.
You never know, taking the bins out might provide a rich variety of sensations!