When I was volunteering on organic farms, I learned so much. From how to correctly plant a pumpkin, to the fact that your own pee is an excellent garden fertilizer! But above all of the other lessons, the one which taught me the most was probably learning how to add a layer of consciousness to my food. How to shed some awareness and gratitude on to the processes of growth, harvest, and preparation. This, in turn, allowed me to have a subtle shift in my perception of food. Subtle, yet a shift which made a world of difference.
Like many of the world’s population, I used to view food in a fairly negative light. I was scared of what it would do to me if I ate too much, the wrong kind, or at the wrong time. So it’s safe to say that my relationship to it wasn’t really about seeing all of the incredible processes by which those plants come to our table. The two five-minute meditation practices that I learned at the communities taught me to really think about what it took to raise that food from the Earth. To think about who grew it and the involvement of sun, water and everything else. Looking at it, it really is quite complicated and fantastic!
The first meditation was actually introduced to me on the first day of my stay. We were mowing the lawn, and I was bursting with energy to get started! However, before we could start, one of the ladies led us under a tree and requested we do a little meditation first. It involved spending 5 minutes thinking about the plants and the energy they put into growing themselves, and explaining what we were going to do. What this did was make me incredibly aware of the fact that there is a lot of work that goes into a plant’s growth. I also realized that I was putting a stop to that growth. This really woke me up to realizing just how I treat plants as well as animals. It taught me to be careful of them and not take them, harvest, or weed them out unnecessarily. Because I knew how much energy they were putting into growth.
The second meditation was during the meal times when we would be eating food cooked with our beautiful salads, apples, and cherries! I usually harvest plants without thinking twice about it and eat them in exactly the same way. I think about what’s good for me and what the food can bring to my body, but I never think about how it got to my plate. At this pre-meal meditation, we closed our eyes and in our own way, we acknowledged the contribution of the sun, water, soil, elements, and of course people, in bringing the food to our plate. For me this really highlighted the value of food. Especially food which is of high quality, because high quality, home-grown, organic, natural foods are often more time-consuming and labor-intensive than mass-produced factory food. So in this way, I learned the value of good food and the effort behind it, as well as just how many factors played into it arriving on my plate.
For me, this awareness has shifted an internal preconception that I’ve had since I was a teenager, that food is just another thing that you have to do in the day and that it is something to overthink and be nervous about. These meditations helped me to see eating as a beautiful way of making the most of the Earth’s bounty and being really grateful that I have access to wonderful, living, vibrant foods to fill my plate and tummy!
How to do it: It can take any shape that you want. You can just say thank you, picture it growing or being made, or go through each process and give gratitude to each. It can be as simple or complex as you like.
- The first meditation: This is all about acknowledging that you are causing harm to the plant and being very conscious and connected to why you are doing it. It helps you reflect on whether your reason is justified and makes you want to use the plant as fully and respectfully as possible. So just sit for 3-5 minutes and talk to yourself or the plants and explain what you’re doing, why, and how you will use the plant wisely afterward.
- The second meditation: This is for giving gratitude for your meal and being aware of the amount of effort that brought it to your plate. It helps you to appreciate the food, how it got to you and what it can do for your body. Take 3-5 minutes and say thank you for the nutrients it brings the hands that helped it grow, the time it took, and of course the wonderful taste too!
Who knows once you’ve started this, a great next step is planting your own garden and watching the process unfold in front of you. It can be outside in a huge vegetable garden if you are one of the lucky ones who have this space. Or it could even be in an old boat mooring floaty, as I have at home. Some other great ideas are: filling a container with soil and piercing the bottom, hanging a metal basket on your porch, or even building deep soil-filled shelves into a wall. There are always options to get your hands dirty and connect to your food. Meditation is just a starting point which can begin a much deeper consciousness of our food and health.
Get more like this–sign up for our newsletter for exclusive inspirational content!
Photo: Daiga Ellaby – Unsplash; Ksenia Makagonov – Unsplash; Klara Avsenik – Unsplash