The last time you ate, were you completely absorbed in thinking about something else, or were you just eating? Did you enjoy the food?

Next time you eat, plan on just eating. Focus your attention completely on the smelling, the tasting, the chewing and the swallowing. Thoughts come and go. Remain in your moment-to-moment awareness of sensing and experiencing the simple pleasure of just eating.

Once you’ve experienced benefits from just eating, you may find yourself the quiet one among those who are talkative at the table. Feel free to treat yourself to a quiet-mind meal in an otherwise stress-filled day. You may be a welcomed example to others. When eating with awareness you may find you eat more slowly and are satisfied with less. You may taste your food better and chew it consciously. Just eating rests and refreshes the mind and feels like a mini-vacation. Remembering awareness is a gift to your self and others.

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Try this the next time you are aware that you feel stressed and want to quiet down the inner chaos quickly. Walking, driving, standing still or sitting, quietly say while breathing in, "I am breathing in, and I am at peace." Say while breathing out, "I am breathing out, and I am at peace." Focus attention on what happens. If you become distracted, simply return your focus to your words and notice what's happening within. Repeat until you notice a shift, and are ready to stop. The cells of the body receive thought as instruction, and they are willing followers to whatever we think. Saying we are at peace allows the body to shift from feeling rushed around, to slowing down, so we can feel quieter inside. With the goal of maintaining balance in all things, use this practice with care, and let awareness be your guide. Sometimes this practice is helpful, and other times, it can be used to distract us from exploring mistaken beliefs that keep us rushing around. Remembering awareness is a gift to yourself and others.

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