Conscious cooking is a way to uplift and give the gift of love to family and friends during the holidays. In addition to creating a good practice for mindfulness, preparing foods with love nourishes their spirits and minds as well as their bodies. The kitchen offers one of the best and most creative places for practicing mindfulness. Many mindfulness practices are done in yoga studios or meditation rooms where everything is designed to be calm and peaceful. This is a nice way to begin the practice of meditation, but real meditation starts to take place when it’s intimately integrated into daily life. What better place to start than in the kitchen?!
Turning a meal into a meditation experience can be a beneficial way to observe the mind, explore challenges and also sow love into a meal designed for yourself, your family or a friend. When viewed as play, it can also bring fun into the practice and keep it light and joyful rather than dour and serious. But more than that it can be an opportunity to consciously cook with love and sow the subtle energies of loving kindness into the foods.
Walter Danzer, founder of Soyana, a natural foods company located in Switzerland takes the ancient practices to heart. Food cooked with love provides nutrition for body, mind and spirit. It gives the added “soul nutrients” that don’t come from factory made, processed foods. Ever have that longing for mom’s homemade dishes? Baked, sweet yams, persimmon pudding, cheesecake or even simple corn on the cob? Sometimes the store brought varieties can be found, but they still leave an unsatisfied feeling. Danzer and his employees realize the importance of peaceful surroundings for food preparation. All of Soyana’s employees meditate regularly and consciously bring the energy of love into their work and food handling. The result has been a successful company that exports to Germany and continues to expand with new product lines and creative ideas.
In ancient traditions it’s said that the cook transmits subtle properties of his or her thoughts and emotions into the food. To avoid being contaminated by the world, monks would cook their own food or take something with them when they traveled away from the monastery. Danzer said he and his staff experienced this first hand when they all ate a meal at a restaurant and all of them awoke with nightmares. From that time Danzer dedicated himself to providing foods made in the most uplifting environment.
With these reflections in mind, try making a conscious meal and bringing in that delectable energy of love. Chop the zucchini with careful attention. The mind will want to wander to other things, but gently bring it back. Enjoy the creative joy of being present in the kitchen.
Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.debramoffitt.com and http://www.awakeintheworld.com.