When I Eat, I Eat

There is a famous Zen saying: “When I eat, I eat; when I sleep, I sleep.” Years of meditating, and I still need to be reminded occasionally of this need to be fully present in whatever it is I am doing.

It is easy for me to get into the habit of eating while I am doing something else. Unless I have plans to eat with someone, I bring my lunch to the law school and have a tendency to pull it out and munch on it as I continue to work on my computer. At home, except for dinner with Dave, I often eat while reading.

Yesterday, I made corn muffins on a whim. (I don’t tend to bake and my breakfast is most often fruit and yogurt.) I sat down with a muffin and my coffee, realized Dave took the newspaper with him and looked around the room. Noting that the dishwasher still need to be emptied, I took a bite of the muffin and started to get up to empty it. I didn’t think it linearly like this, but I was reacting to the thought, “Don’t want to just sit hear doing nothing; I can make this eating time more productive by getting something accomplished.”

Fortunately, as soon as the thought formed, I realized what I was doing and sat down. Just eat, I thought. And that is what I did. Sat and mindfully ate my corn muffin and drank my coffee, simply enjoying it and the moment.

When I eat, I eat.

We can get so used to multi-tasking, so used to feeling like we have to use every moment as productively as possible that it is easy to lose mindfulness. We need to be reminded: Whatever it is we are doing, be fully present in the act. Doing the thing we are doing (whatever it is) mindfully is enough.