Gratitude is the sign of noble souls ~ Aesop

Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving ~ Kahlil Gabran

Joy delights in joy ~ William Shakespeare

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Just an Apple

I ate an apple today.

It doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary, but it was. Because I tried a little exercise suggested by the great spiritual thinker and doer, Thich Nhat Hanh...I ate the apple "mindfully." This simply means that I gave my attention to the present moment, the task at hand. I paid attention to the act of eating, sat still and noticed each bite. Which is not easy for me...I have gotten into a terrible habit of multitasking while I eat -- watching TV, surfing the web, talking, even driving. I actually can't remember a time when I've eaten in silent stillness. I shove food in my face as an afterthought, often forgetting to give thanks that I get to eat food that is not only beautiful and flavorful, but also plentiful...

Could it be possible that the act of eating food can be an act of true gratitude, of worship? That not only the body is nourished, but also the soul? I have often wondered if the Christian community has misunderstood Jesus' command when he broke the bread at the Last Supper and said "as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, do it in memory of me." I'm not convinced that communion was necessarily just supposed to be a Sunday morning thing -- but instead, perhaps, something we should do with EVERY meal. After all, in the days when Jesus spoke, bread and wine were something enjoyed at every meal...not just special sacrament times. And so, maybe we are to give thanks each time we eat, and remember that we are not just to feed the body, but the soul as well.

And so this brings me back to the apple. After feeling a little silly for sitting and staring at a piece of fruit, I noticed how it looked...perfect and round, like a baseball with a stem. And then, the many colors...not just red, but a yellowish soft red underneath, with a watercolor layer of a deeper red making almost undetectable stripes around the whole. Then there were the tiny yellow freckles dotting the entire sphere, and the long, almost graceful brown stem with a bit of green near the base. On the bottom was the dry brown star-shaped remnants of the blossom that once adorned the tree, before the fruit was born. Beautiful. I took a bite and noticed the sound, not just a crunch, but a crunch and a swish...almost like stepping on snow. Hard and soft together, crisp with a hint of slush. And as I took a rather large bite, a shard like the side of an iceberg broke off into my mouth, melting into juice. Better than any juice from a bottle. Sweet tangy nectar, all the fruits in one -- a little grape, a hint of lemon, a remnant of pear -- all coming together in a symphony of flavor. And that's when the most amazing thing happened -- while I was noticing all that the apple was, I never once remembered to notice my sore throat, or how tired I was, and I didn't have room in my mind with all of my senses so focused to mentally beat myself up for not having been more productive this week.

The dogs watched with intense interest while I sat and ate in silent revelry -- they seemed to think I was enjoying something extra special, and not just an apple. Perhaps I was.

1 comment:

  1. Just reading this brought me to that very moment of yours and I was able to forget my tight shoulders and burning eyes and tired body. Plus you got my mouth watering like I was Pavlov's dog :). I love the analogy you made of the bite being like crunching into fresh snow. So true!


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