It seems lots of folks are baking bread these days! I was reflecting on baking and eating bread and how these actions can become a beautiful mindfulness meditation. So for you bread bakers out there, or really any preparer or consumer of food (that's all of us, hopefully) here is a mindfulness practice you can incorporate into your daily life.
As you gather the ingredients for your bread (substitute whatever you're cooking if you wish), take just a second to acknowledge where each ingredient came from. The flour you're using started as grain growing in a field. See it golden and ripe and waving in the breeze. Sense the blue sky and sun above it, the fertile earth beneath it, and the fresh air all around it. Take a moment to acknowledge the farmer who grew and harvested it, the worker who ground it and packaged it, the grocery store employee who stocked the shelves. As you add the yeast to warm water to proof, take a second to realize it's a living organism that's helping you put bread on your table. The milk you're using came from cows feeding on grass and grain and cared for by farmers. Likewise the eggs and other ingredients. Making the bread dough is a slow process in which one has to pay attention to what one is doing - rather than letting your mind wander to concerns and worries, spend that time mindfully acknowledging each ingredient, the beauty of how they combine together, the feeling of the dough on your fingers, the strength you use to knead the dough.... There's no right or wrong way to be mindful - the objective is to cultivate awareness in the present moment.
Now your lovely loaf of bread is ready to be eaten! Who can resist a slice of bread fresh out of the oven? You can extend your mindfulness practice by using your senses to fully appreciate the aroma, the texture, the taste. Chew slowly and savor it. Extend your gratefulness to all the beings that came together to make it possible for you to be eating this delicious bread right now. Mmmmmmm.....
As often as possible in the week ahead, practice mindful food preparation and eating.
I'll be back next Monday with another mindfulness practice you can incorporate into daily life.