Contemplative Kitchen

Often times, when I am teaching or when I am speaking with someone about practicing mindfulness, I hear the phrase ‘Maybe when things quieten down, I will have more time to meditate’. However, the irony is that it is when we are most ‘busy’ in our minds that our practice is most important. Also, there is no reason why we can’t incorporate our practice into our ‘busy’, and one of the easiest ways to do so is to bring our practice to those menial tasks that we face every single day.

spiritual-ethnicak5260-005-290x300One of these tasks is working in the kitchen. It is nearly impossible to go a full day without entering a kitchen. Whether it is to make a cup of tea, clean the counters, cook a meal or put away the shopping, the kitchen is a daily destination. So why not, as Thich Nhat Hanh says, turn our kitchen into a mini meditation hall?

It might help to light some incense or a candle, hang a picture of a special location or a place a cherished item on the windowsill, and really try to create a meditative atmosphere. Then, before starting any task, we can set the intention to bring our beginner’s mind to the job, take three deep, mindful breaths and use our cooking, cleaning or putting away as our practice.

If we are washing dishes, we can pay attention to the physical sensations of the water on our hands, or on the plates and cutlery as they come clean. If we are cooking, we can spend some time considering where the food has come from, what elements have created the food, or the sounds of the cutting board. If we are putting the groceries away, we can really look at the packaging, the colours, the weight and notice any feelings or stories that arise from resting our attention on these details.

In this way, we don’t have to search for time to ‘practice’, instead, we just practice.

Let us know how you get on!

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Joanna McGregor
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I now put on a CD from Samyeling shop or my own music in the background. I also have a picture of my compassionate image in the kitchen. That centres me. I relax and take my attention to chopping Veg instead of my fingers! And flavours. Now there’s fewer burnt pans and less swearing when I make big batches of soup…