Background: Mindfulness asks us to sit with our sensory experiences. It recognizes that our ability to taste, touch, and smell does not have the ability to look to the future or the past. Nearly anything can be approached this way. But eating is a good place to begin, particurly for sevens. When Enneagram lore identifies ‘gluttony’ as the sin of sevens, they are careful to point out that this means more than food. But food is certainly a part of it!
This is a practice that can be done with incredibly tiny parts of food. To anticipate the eating, for example, of a single M&M can be a joyous, delightful thing.
As written below, this practice assumes that you will have something prepared to eat. But there is no reason to begin feeling present once the food is prepared. Being slow and aware during the process of getting the food ready is a great way to be.
- Take three deep breaths: inhalations and exhalations. Finding yourself here.
- Experience yourself as existing in the center of a vast network of relationships, all of which collaborated to bring this food to you. Consider the person who sold it to you, the person who stocked the shelves. The shippers who transformed it. The farms that grew it or the factory that packaged it. Allow yourself a moment of grattitude for this network of relationships; widen it even further if you wish; consider the people who trained and supported the shipper, the sales people, the farmers., for example.
- Behold the food that you are going to eat. Seek to see it as something truly unique. This is not just an example of whatever sort of food you are eating (i.e. it’s not just an apple; it is one particular apple.)
- Turn the plate so that you can view this from some other angle. Seeking to discover something about the appearance of this thing.
- Smell the food. Make yourself present to this scent.
- Place a small bite of the food in your mouth. Explore this texture with your tongue. Don’t bite into it yet.
- Note the flavor and the texture of this thing. See if this texture and flavor are unifrom.
- Now, bite into this food slowly. Notice the ways it is ground between your teeth. Be present to the tastes and the textures that change. Allow this chewed food to land on your tongue.
- Tune in to the ways that this slowly grows uniform in taste and texture. Notice any changes in your body as it reacts to the tastes.
- When it is time, swallow this bite of food.
- If there is more of the food left, take a look at the portion that remains. Note how the bite you took out of it.
- Smell the food again. How has the taste changed?
- Be present to other changes in your body. Does your belly began to feel full? Is your throat dry? What taste remains even with the food no longer in your mouth?
- Repeat steps 6-13 until the food has been eaten.
- Sit in a moment of grattitude for this food.