The Impact Cooking Has on Our Mind, Body, and Soul

cooking

Like many, I was introduced to cooking when I started college at 17 — to survive. Since then I have traveled many miles, experienced many cuisines, and cooked many meals.

Along the way I have learned a few things about food, the process of cooking, and the impact it makes on our mind, body, and soul during good times and bad times. Food is the most fundamental of needs for our survival and almost every major event in our lives revolves around it.

It plays a vital role in the development of social interactions and social relationships. I find food to be sacred and the process of making food to be awakening and insightful. Although I am not professionally trained, cooking has become a joyful passion.

The process of making food has taught me to be mindful, embrace creativity, and push for mastery. Below are a few lessons that might make you think differently the next time you enter your kitchen.

Ritualistic Cooking Can Enhance Mindfulness
Along with billions of others around the globe, I suffer from the daily grind of life. My affinity with mindful living is not grounded in any kind of scientific research — rather from constant self-analysis. I have found cooking is a means towards that journey of mindfulness. It’s been said that the only two jobs of a Zen monk that are more important that sitting zazen (meditation) are cooking and cleaning. Cooking is a great way to practice mindfulness. Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention to the present. It simply means living in the moment and awakening to experience. And it takes practice to be mindful. I have found that when I ritualistically cook on a regular basis it enhances my ability to be mindful about everything else I do.

In the 13th century, Japanese Zen master Dogen wrote “Instructions for the Tenzo,” or head cook. In examining the manners and methods of preparing a meal at the Monastery, he reveals how to “cook”—or refine—your whole life. In one such instruction, he says “When you boil rice, know that the water is your own life.” How do we cultivate the mind that cares as deeply for an ordinary thing, like water, as it cares for our very own life? Sounds simple — but it’s actually pretty hard — go ahead and try it. It comes from putting our entire mind into those simple tasks, concentrating deeply, and doing them intentionally and completely. And when we are mindful, it allows us to better connect with the:

  • Past – What we have completed
  • Present – The task at hand
  • Future – How our task at hand moves us forward

I believe, if we consciously think about the ingredients we choose, their preparation, the way we cook and the way we eat, it can contribute towards the development of mindfulness.

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SOURCE: Business Insider
Faisal Hoque

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