Right now I am absorbed in Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Peace Is Every Step. The book is full of quick anecdotes, stories and meditations (no more than 2 pages) that invite the reader to tune into their breath and become aware of their own body, mind, and how they interact with the people and environment around them. I find that each entry has a perfect place for every day. I try not to read more than 3 passages a day…and often, needing to process the the words a bit deeper, I reread what I read the day before.
A few posts back I mentioned that I am a fast eater. I am working on this and recently told my husband that I felt we needed to eat at the table. We have a habit of making dinner, putting out television trays and watching a movie while we eat — not fully processing the food, not talking to each other, detaching from not only our own mind and body, and also separating from each other. Because of this tendency (and my obvious over-awareness of my mindless, speed eating) I was drawn to the passage “Eating Mindfully.”
In “Eating Mindfully,” Nhat Hanh discusses the importance of sitting to eat without distraction; being mindful of not only your food but also those who you share this meal with. I began to think, by turning on the TV, by distracting ourselves with outside stimulation, rather than sitting at a table, face-to-face, sharing a meal, what is it that my husband and I avoiding? Are we avoiding each other? Are our lives so hectic that we escape to the artificial world rather than tuning into ourselves and each other? I am not afraid that my marriage is failing nor do I feel that we are in a bad place. I just wonder what aspects of our relationship are we not nourishing because we tune each other out just as we tune out the food we eat, the air breath, and refuse to let our minds settle on our breath. On a larger scale, how does this behavior translate into relationships I have with friends, families, students and acquaintances? As I ponder these question in my own life, I ask YOU: How does your behavior affect both you and others? What do you miss by mindlessly distracting yourself from being completely present?