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LUNCH COULD BE YOUR MIDDAY MINDFUL MEDITATION I sometimes forget to have lunch. My day gets busy and I often have back-to-back appointments. It might get to 3 o’clock and I wonder why I’m a bit lightheaded. When I do eat, although it’s usually something nutritious, it’s frequently rushed. It’s funny how we often teach what we

need to learn. When I work with clients for weight loss I’ll talk with them about listening to their body and eating when they’re hungry. I also talk about eating mindfully. I call it Zen eating. You know the idea... really bringing your full awareness to the experience; activating all of your senses; seeing the colours of the food, being aware of the smell; feeling the texture in your mouth and even hearing the sounds as you chew. A friend posted a comment on Facebook

recently about ‘tasting’ food rather than just eating it. She said that eating food and really tasting it are two very different experiences, and she’s right. Maybe lunch is a perfect time to stop and

be mindful. Eating breakfast mindfully is a possibility, but most people are usually in a rush to get out the door in the morning. Dinner is typically a family time, but lunch can be an ideal opportunity to take yourself to a quiet spot and ‘Zen eat’, even if it’s only for 15 minutes or so. You can make lunch your midday mindful meditation. How lovely to relax, centre yourself, clear your mind, tune into your senses and really taste your food. You can even add in a sense of deep gratitude and appreciation for the food and its role in nourishing your body. I guarantee your afternoon will be calmer,

more productive and happier. Sound good? I think it sounds like a great idea. I might have to try it myself! n

Alison Burton, health & happiness guru, East Doncaster, VIC.

LUNCH FOR CONNECTING Lunch for me is all about connections – with family, with friends – getting out and mixing in the world, at least on the weekends. Our local café, Minimos, is one I visit

more than most because there’s always a lightness and vibrancy here. Colleen and Claudio run the place and Gavin is pulling the coffees. The place is alive, bustling and noisy. Paradoxically, here’s a place I can find silence within. The experience is full. It’s in the food, the conversation, the venue, the people watching, reading. It’s purely and simply good for the soul. Yet again it reminds me that

spirituality is not a practice; it’s how we live our life. We can do many practices – meditation, yoga, whatever – but, in the end, they are simply the warm- ups to living life as spirit instead of clay. Those practices are there to tune us in to the frequency that we might otherwise miss. What’s our priority? Is it about our needs, our wants, our ambition? If it is, then we experience life as something that is a battle ground, with danger always close at hand. The interaction with another person is something to be watched, checked on and analysed. What’s the motivation of that person – are they friend or foe? It’s almost like, despite having left the cave, survival is still more important than enjoyment, reflection, interaction and experiencing the meaning in our life. I’ve just watched an amazing QandA

on the ABC. Someone at the end asked the physicist and TV presenter, Brian Cox: “Do

you think life has a purpose”, to which he answered, almost before the question had left the person’s mouth, “No”. It’s something that I understand

conceptually, and yet I simply don’t ‘get’. For me the Purpose of Life is at least partly to get that it HAS a purpose! If you don’t think it has, then it won’t. What I know is that I constantly miss it in my haste to do the next thing, and then I rediscover it when I slow down. When I sit down to eat lunch at Minimos,

I always feel that deeper purpose of life because I give myself permission to stop. Sometimes the simplest things have the deepest meaning. When I savour the food as if that’s all there is in life, then I experience that deeper Purpose: that food was created to help me see what life is for. When I eat and attempt to do something else – even a conversation – I can miss that purpose; I miss the flavours, the perfection of what it is to be able to eat: to be

sustained, to feel nourished, to feel grateful, etc. When we

share food with others the potential

to be closer to others can open up, in the joy we experience. Lunchtime is one of the times that can

provide an important doorway that helps me to prioritise something other than the urgency of the next task on the never-ending to-do list. It’s the time I can tune in a little more to THE message of life that we can only find in the ‘silence’ or ‘stillness’ that’s found in that place called Stop. n

Steve Ray, Co-ordinator of Open Heart Meditation

NOVEMBER 2014 45


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