If you have read this blog at all you will know that I use the word prayer interchangeably with meditation. So if the word pray freaks you out, then say the following instead, meditate before meals. This seems to be a lost practice in our society. I imagine in a old school God fearing household there is still that picturesque family holding hands around the table and saying grace, but for the rest of us it is a pile of take out on the kitchen counter followed by a mad rush to whatever activity has us engaged. Rewind the clock a few centuries and expressing gratitude before meals were consumed was a mainstay in many cultures. Beside the religious consideration, was there perhaps other reasons?
In modern society we tend to eat really fast. We probably only taste the first bite and then the rest is wolfed down with little thought. We eat food automatically, before we know it that Double Bacon Cheese Burger with Large Fries and a Large Diet Coke have been consumed. The Diet Coke btw, helps us feel better about the feeding frenzy we engaged in like some mindless zombie attacking its victim. Eating has become a thing we do on the run, in front of a show, or quick snacks between phone calls. We grab our food in a gas station as we drive to our next appointment. Rarely, if ever, do we sit down and contemplate what we eat, why we are eating and actually enjoy or even taste our food.
Getting back to the historic custom of saying a blessing on food. Just think about what that causes you do to. You do not start eating until every thing is set and ready to go. This means that there is a fixed meal time, not a lot of grazing. You also take a minute to reflect on what is before you, you are MINDFUL of what you have and how grateful you are for having it. This causes you to pause and think about what you are about ready to eat. This puts you in a different mental state. Rather than a mindless eating machine that just dumps a bunch of calories down your throat, you are contemplating, taking a pause actually thinking about what you are eating and why.
Now think about that for a minute. How would your eating change if you actually took a moment to ask yourself, what am I eating? Why am I eating it? What urge am I satisfying right now? Is it true hunger or primal urge? Who is in control here anyway? This practice would force you to sit down to eat a separate location than your work. You would be less rushed and distracted. Hmm. Maybe our ancestors had figured out something that we just have ignored? Praying, meditating, or even just thinking about what your eating could have some significant health benefits.