Cooking doesn’t have to be a rushed experience, or something we do on auto-pilot, distracted by thoughts, feelings, and inner-dialogue. In fact, of all the tasks we do in our daily lives, cooking offers a wonderful opportunity for us to train the mind to be present.
When you approach preparing a meal as a mindfulness exercise, we experience the present moment through every task, and in whatever utensil we are using. It could be chopping an onion, stirring/tasting soup, mixing spices to make a sauce, or bringing rice to the boil. In following the recipe — on the page or in our mind — and staying present with the process, step by step, we cultivate awareness and, in turn, discover calm, clarity, and contentment.
How do we cultivate our awareness? Instead of using the breath to anchor the mind — as you would in a meditation — allow your focus to fall on the particular step of the recipe. When you cook mindfully and become generally curious about the food you are making, you’ll naturally be in the here and now.