Broccoli, Meditation and Garlic

I’m participating in Sharon Salzberg’s month-long meditation challenge. This is really fun. Every day she sends a link to a brief guided meditation. Although they are connected, each day the approach is a little different—walking meditation, meditations where you pay attention to your breathing, your thoughts and emotions.

My favorite so far was the eating meditation. My husband and I did this one together. I love eating and cooking, so I thought it would be easy. First, we were supposed to look at our food. My husband and I both stabbed some broccoli and garlic and raised it to eye level. We were both like, looked at the food, done, check! But there was a pause in the podcast. That continued. Causing us to actually Look At Our Food. At this point mine was just a tiny piece of garlic as the broccoli had fallen off, but I noticed the caramelized edge, the shiny surface, and that it was shaped like the state of Illinois. Next, we were to smell the food. (I re-stabbed the broccoli.) We both sniffed. Check, done! Another pause. We continued smelling and yes, hum, noticed the porcini mushroom oil, the thyme. Then (finally) we were to taste the food, and you guessed it, another pause, a long pause. And I found myself really tasting it (delicious!), and I thought of how life is like this. You think you’ve done it, but there is often a little (or a lot) more something you hadn’t quite noticed. How we need that nudge, and we go a bit further. So my husband and I continue to experiment with mindful eating, although not quite as slowly. The guided experience provided perspective. Thanks to Ms. Salzberg for her prompting.

I discovered Sharon Salzberg one night when I couldn’t sleep. I turned on the i-pad—against the rules, I know—and looked up guided meditation or some such. After passing on a couple of dreamy voices complete with bird sounds, I came across a podcast from the Rubin Museum in NYC (a fantastic immersive place of Himalayan art and culture, which I had visited by accident, on a trip to NYC.) Here was this calm, down to earth woman with a sense of humor, leading a long meditation. I thought, she is meditating also, as she’s guiding us. This is the real deal.