A deadline approaches, a new project, peers who are working to meet targets, a to-do list that looms over you, and a full calendar. You break for lunch. Walk over to your space for lunch and open up your packed lunch or set out your food in front of you. What occurs to you when you begin to eat? During the course of lunch, what runs through you, a checklist of sorts? A gentle question, I posed for myself. And I decided to go about a lunch experiment.
I sat down to eat lunch, made a little space on my desk, and set out my food on a plate. I allowed myself to feel excited about the process, as a child would. Here, I share with you the steps I walked through:
Step 1: I looked at my food. I noticed how my dal was dull yellow, the seasoning fresh, green herbs tossed on top. Rice, fluffed in a haphazard circle on a plate. Freckled papad and vegetable curry that resembled a medley of color.
Step 2: I tried to consciously think about what my lunch tasted like. I realized my dal was saltier than usual, my vegetable curry was reminiscent of a neighbor’s, and the rice, finally perfected. I allowed myself to experience the texture and taste of my food.
Step 3: I asked myself how I felt after I swallowed. I consciously processed what it felt like to eat and the after-taste.
Lunch ended, at its usual time. However, I felt different. More grounded, in ways. A sense of calm washed over me. Perhaps, your experience will be starkly different from my own. Will you need to find your steps, or make a list? No. You are allowed to craft your own experiments, allow yourself to discover what works for you.
I circle back to my question.
“How do I pack moments of stillness into my routine? Can I find ways to create a safe space of lunchtime?”
On mindfulness, writes Thich Nhat Han:
“When we are mindful, deeply in touch with the present moment, our understanding of what is going on deepens, and we begin to be filled with acceptance, joy.”
My lunch experiment was to hold space for myself, to build mindfulness in the simpler ways that seemed accessible to me.