“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” ― Eckhart Tolle
Potentially every breath, every mouthful of food can be a return to wisdom. It may not happen immediately. It tends to happen in little sneak previews of light and insight. The good news is that it is all within you. There is no need to go anywhere to find it; all you have to do is be still, pay attention.
Every mouthful can be a way of checking in with our relationship with life. Are we appreciating, allowing a moment of delight, observing the good? Are we wanting to get it over and done with? Are we filling the mouth up with the next mouthful before we have even finished the first? Impatient, mindless, automated, is this how you eat? If so, is this how you tend to live much of the time?
From Micro to Macro – Interdependent
When we really pay attention we can deduce truths about life from our micro experiences. And so it is that our relationship with food is so full of potential. Each piece of food contains the earth, sun, water, human effort and contact. Eating in this way brings the realisation that we are of this earth, that we are living organic creatures, dependent and interdependent with mother earth.
From self to no self
What else can we observe while chewing away? When we appreciate the food and are one with the experience of eating, then we can experience a muting of the self, a muting of the sense of ‘me’. Instead we are just in the experience of eating, the textures, tastes, observing the expertise of the tongue in moving the food around and then cleaning up when it all has been swallowed. In that there is no self, just a little eating experience. So the self is not fixed: it arises out of where our attention is. With a muted sense of ‘me’ there is less pull and tug in the moment, there is no wanting nor wanting to avoid.
“When we look with the “I”, we dream. When we look for the “I”, we awaken.” – Mooji (Satsang)
Our relationship with the NOW
In the eating experience there is the potential to be one with the eating, meaning no past or future. Eating in one big Now. We might observe thoughts pumped out in the Now commenting on or reminding of the past or future, or on this moment being right or not right, good or bad. We observe that there is only the Now and our relationship to it. We are observing the mind in relation to the Now, and when we go into the experience of the eating we are at One with the Now. There is no resistence, no wanting it to be different, no comments on whether we like it or not, just being in the eating. Uh huh. Pretty good!
“The primary cause of unhappiness is never the situation but your thoughts about it.” Dalai Lama
While paying attention to eating, we also can’t miss the fact that everything changes all the time, there is impermanence. The food that is now in our mouth was once a little seed of some sort, it grew and grew, was killed or harvested. Something was done to it; it was shipped, bought, prepared and then finally it found its way to your mouth, was chewed, swallowed, and then took the big trip through your digestive system. Some of it was broken down into nutrients carried around through the blood into your whole body and other parts of it exited. All of it was part of a moment-to-moment change. Some change occurs slowly like rocks changing and some fast like the life of a fly, but nonetheless, everything is in a constant state of change, or morphing.
The ongoing consciousness – non duality
With constant change is ongoing decay, leading eventually to our death. We see it in plants, we see it in animals and we are of the same matter. As a consciousness, we are just temporarily borrowing or renting this life form. The sense of “being” was with you before you were born and will continue after your death. Awareness or consciousness is the constant, the only constant.
As consciousness, we are in a non dual form, and from this place there is just an ‘isness’. Non-duality is an experience without separation between subject and object. There is no ‘me’ and no ‘other’, no ‘this’ and ‘that’. There is just a state of oneness, of experiencing our true nature of absolute contentment, love, awareness, peace and gratitude. Non duality awarenss is also called spirituality, observing the spiritual dimension of our experience.
“Love is the experience that others are not others. Beauty is the experience that objects are not objects.” – Rupert Spira (The Way of Beauty, 2013)
When we have little or no sense of our spiritual self we are more prone to depression, loneliness and frustration. When our view of the world isn’t informed by the experience of Oneness it is a confusing, overwhelming and competitive place. Knowing the non dual is the only ultimate meaning-making experience as it becomes our life’s purpose to observe and reduce that which takes us away from experiencing and knowing Oneness – non duality.
Eating offers many ‘routes’ to insights and Oneness. Play with being one with the next mouthful of food. See if you can be in the experience, one with the experience, without a narrative. Be the sensing, the texture, the taste, the chewing.
“I look into the cup and I see the sky, clouds and gum tree in the corner of the garden. I take the cup to my lips and I drink. I drink the sky, I drink the clouds and I drink the gum tree. Every time we eat and drink we take the world into our bodies. Eating is not just a symbol of our interconnectedness, it is the proof, the everyday reminder; all we need to do is pay attention.” – Charlotte Thaarup