Wednesday, June 6, 2012

When ordinary life becomes meditation

I've started working through Jay Michaelson's "God in your body: kabbalah, mindfulness and embodied spiritual practice".  The first exercise he gives is in mindfulness. I took the time to try this.  I made a batch of my favourite gluten free vegan sorghum scones, doing them as welsh scones on the frypan. I thought about each ingredient as I added it to the bowl: the sorghum flour, chia seeds, psyllium, sunflowers (for crunch), coconut oil and a pinch of salt.  I took a moment to enjoy the stirring, observing the texture and consistency.  I shaped them and placed them in a pre-warmed frypan, turning them when they browned on one side. I made a cup of green tea, plucked a scone from the pan and settled done to mindfully consider it.  What was its shape, colour and texture? I enjoyed the toasty smell and the warmth of the scone in my fingers.  It was crisp but yet had a slight amount of moisture in the heat rising off it. I took a bit and savoured the taste, the texture, the warmth and the flow of saliva in my mouth. As I chewed I considered where the ingredients might have come from, the lives of the people that grew them, the gas that had fired the stove and where it might have come from, the transport involved in getting it to the line of merchants and me as the buyer. I swallowed and felt the food descend.  I tried to imagine it in my stomach and took a moment to savour the satisfaction of having food in my stomach, nourishing me. It was an amazing piece of scone. Surely a better way to "say grace" than a few rote words.

I've thought much about this in the few days since and I've realised ANYTHING can be used as a meditation.  Travelling home on the bus tonight I made the effort to notice the smell inside the bus (no not bad - just bus-y), to listen to kids playing on the floor (trying to neither like or dislike their noise but just to notice it), to feel the motion of the bus as it went around corners, to consider the texture and fabric of the seats and the metal trim - who made them and how? Strangely the whole trip seemed very short.

I'm like a child again, rediscovering the world, the wonder and delight of it.