A while back I posted this Food Practice quote: “The kitchen is the best place to find opportunities for meditation. Even washing dishes can bring us closer to inner stillness.” on the Food Practice Facebook page and it sparked some interesting comments on the page and in email. You can imagine there were comments to dishes NOT AT ALL being meditative.
But there were also a few inquiries about this practice of making the kitchen more than a place to perform the chore of cooking and eating. Because of that, I wanted to bring it back to the core of Food Practice and the reason why making this room in your home a meditative and sacred space is important.
Where you prepare your sustenance is holy ground. What you do in your kitchen is nothing short of keeping you and your family alive. How you do that shows volumes about what value you place on your life and the lives of those you feed.
What’s more, if this is a space in which you actively sustain your Life and the lives of those you live with, it stands to reason that once you enter it, you mentally shift gears, changed by the very intention of the room.
But it’s the intentioned shifting of mental gears that creates a meditative state once you enter the room. It’s that state of meditative presence that deepen the healing that can take place in the kitchen. It recalibrates you, imbues the food you prepare with thriving energy and it serves to relax and center you before you sit down to receive your nourishment or serve it to others.
So how do you create a kitchen that is meditative?
1. Claim it sacred. Declare your kitchen a sacred space of service, healing and nourishment. This doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, just by declaring it so and giving it this meaning, you imprint this meaning and association into your mind and soul. Each time you walk into the space you are reminded both consciously and unconsciously of this association and meaning. And every single time you walk into the kitchen after this declaration, you feed the potency of that meaning.
This helps your mind shift as you walk into the kitchen to find or prepare food. It doesn’t mean that it has to be a quiet, solemn kitchen. If you have children or a big family you know there will be days in which silence is utterly impossible and it’s not even part of your household reality. Sacred isn’t about solemn or silent. It’s about depth and meaning. And the day to day chaos of family running through the kitchen is sacred music indeed.
2. Choose your stimulus carefully. In other words, music, conversation, who and what you let into the space with you, needs to be conducive to the business of service and preparing food. Remember that you are serving yourself and those you feed when in the kitchen. Talking on the phone, streaming news on tv in the background, soaps or whatever other noise is going on tv isn’t conducive to this space. Choose that which is in alignment to a meditative, sacred space of healing and service.
3. Pace, presence and peace. Slow things down. Even if you’re in a hurry. Slow it down so that you can be present with each task you’re are engaged in, pay attention to the sensations, colors and smells of the food you’re preparing, and as you do, invoke and breathe in peace. Do this even when you don’t feel it – especially when you don’t feel it. You practice this and you begin to cultivate a habit of pulling in peace and presence when you prepare food, setting you up a habit of meditation while in the kitchen.
BONUS CONTENT: For another 3 things to do check out the video chat I put together for the Food Practice Gathering Circle on Facebook. You can find it here.