The benefit of mindfulness can be practiced at any time, as I noted when I ate lunch today. Let’s take a moment and apply mindfulness to a sandwich. I grew my dill, chives and tomato myself. The anticipation of the tomato made the sandwich taste all the better. The flavor reminded me of the effort I put into making the raised garden bed: filling it with soil, planting the tomato plants and periodically tying them to their stakes. It reminded me of the warmth of the sun upon my back, watching the plants grow slowly and watching the fruit ripen in the summer sun.
The bread reminded me of the farmer working the fields, of the people who manufactured his tractor and of the people who drilled for oil to power to tractor. The soft texture recalled the picnics I enjoyed with family and friends.
The burger warned about the inevitability of my death. An animal died so I could enjoy the flavors of my sandwich and be able to live. I live in America, so I know the animal also suffered at the hands of the meat industrial system that is built for efficiency, not animal comfort. The slice of cheese emphasized this industrial complex; it tasted of unnatural methods to force cows to produce in large quantities.
The spinach spoke of the supermarket and the vast supply chain that brought it to my plate. It spoke of the oil that underpinned it’s growth in the fields and transport. The few wilted leaves silently shouted about how earth cannot sustain such a large supply chain forever.
I wince at my use of a foam plate. The foam will remain in the landfill for decades to come – a high price for just 20 minutes of eating pleasure. However, the vote was already cast by the foam plate’s purchase. I take small comfort in how half my meal was grown in my garden, the sweet banana peppers, the lovely tomatoes, the savory chives and the sweet dill. The cool glass of water, filtered not bottled, helped me think that just perhaps the meal wasn’t so hard on our Mother. At the least, the meal provided some sliver of income for all the families involve in it’s making: the farmers, miners, drillers, truckers, supermarket clerks, machinists, engineers, geneticists, and onward.
I turn out all the lights and televisions of my home after enjoying the sandwich to try to offset the plate. I enjoyed the sandwich in mindfulness that moment but also with awareness of how the act of eating touches everyone in the globe.