How to Be Mindful by the Grill

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Meditation for Real Life

“Whether it’s the warmth of the sunshine on our back, the sound of the food sizzling on the grill, or the sweet smell of spice wafting in the breeze, cooking outdoors can be a magical affair. With such a rich environment for our senses, grilling out is the perfect activity to remind ourselves of what it means to be mindful — relaxed in the body, at ease in the mind and just that little bit more connected with the world around us.” — Andy Puddicombe, co-founder of Headspace.

Before you begin, take a few moments to reflect on where the food you are about to cook was grown, produced or prepared; how far and by what means it has traveled; and the number of people involved from start to finish. Appreciating all that went into a meal can fundamentally change both our enjoyment and appreciation of what we are eating.

There is a certain momentum to a barbecue and once the grill is lit, it can be all too easy to get lost in a whirlwind of things to do and remember. So pause for a moment before you begin to take a couple of deep breaths, to look around you, to take it all in.

Notice how you feel in your body and focus on that feeling of being grounded, your weight pressing down through your feet.

As you cook, be sure to take in the changing smells, the sounds, the temperature and the feeling of the air against your skin.

If at any stage you realize you’re getting lost in thought, just let that go and gently come back to one of those senses.

Be sure to take a moment to check back in periodically as you cook. If the changing aromas and sounds feel too abstract, use the sensation of your feet on the floor to help ground you.

When it finally comes to tasting the food, rather than eating at the same speed as you’ve been cooking, allow time to savor the food, to notice how the taste changes as you chew, to appreciate the distinct flavors of a meal well-grilled.