Too often we care about all the wrong things when it comes to food. Is it cheap and convenient? Can I eat a lot at one sitting? Is it sweet, or salty enough? We care about amounts, intense bursts of flavor throughout a meal, etc. What we miss are the amazing flavors in simply prepared foods; or the complexity of individual foods, like an apple or plum. We often eat when we’re doing something else, like working at our desk, using our cell phone or walking down the street. We pay so little attention on a deep level, yet we expect so much from what we put in our mouths.
Even people without eating disorders, or health issues directly related to food (though I believe all health issues are directly related to food), expect food to heal spiritual and emotional wounds yet have no idea how things taste, or what compels them to chase ever more intense flavors, and why, when they get the things they crave, they remain unsatisfied.
This may sound radical, but I believe food can heal emotional wounds and provide insight into our deepest fears and longings–but not the way we usually go about eating. Eating a gallon of ice cream, or even taking a second helping of something before your stomach has a chance to let your brain know the food’s arrived (about 20 minutes) will not provide insight, or relief from suffering. That kind of eating is mindless eating. Only the practice of mindful eating can provide the insight we yearn for.
Mindful eating practice requires effort and patience. People say meditating with food is too hard–they don’t have time. But the suffering that comes from mindless eating is ongoing and pernicious. And how much time is wasted obsessing about food! Why not train our minds, thus healing us and supporting our growth as humans on this paradise we call Earth. It would go far to heal Pachamamma as well as our bodies and spirits.