“When you eat in silence, your mind is quieter and it is easier to be in a harmonious relationship with the food and your digestion will be improved. When we engage in conversation, read or watch television, we miss important signals from our body and then we overeat. It’s also difficult to chew food properly when we are distracted.
Exercises, Comments, and Suggestions
a) Eat one meal alone and in silence: Try eating one meal in complete silence with no distractions. It is easiest to do this the first time while eating alone. Avoid bringing a book or other forms of entertainment. If you are not at home, and you are uncomfortable being seen alone, go to a quiet, private place where you are less likely to be seen or known. A park is a good place. When all else fails, even a parked car on a hillside with a view will do just fine. Just avoid turning on the radio. After eating your first meal in silence, try it again another day. Over time, you will find yourself drawn to do this more often and you will become more comfortable with the silence and with being alone.
b) Eating with family and close friends: Explain that you are practicing conscious eating and are trying to eat in a calm and peaceful manner without great distractions. Don’t expect others to be silent, but request that they not engage you in debate or controversy while eating. Try to keep the conversation about the food. Comment on the preparation and taste of the food. Keep all conversation light hearted. Since the dinner table is often a place where families work out problems or coordinate activities, suggest that you have a family meeting after dinner with some tea. If conversation does arise, and it often will, suggest that only positive conversing take place. Avoid all conflict and drama. It is always best to discuss the rules of the table with the family, and come to an agreement before coming to the table. If you have children at the table who get very noisy or silly, try creating an agreement where everybody takes five minutes of silence at the start of the meal. After five minutes, the energy will be much calmer. Any time the noise level rises too high you can take another five minutes.
c) Eating with co-workers and others who are not engaged in conscious eating: If you find yourself eating with other people who are not eating in a conscious manner, it is best to be the quieter one at the table. Rather than engage others in conversation, just sit back and relax. If you are drawn into a conversation, try giving a short but polite response.”