Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur



Filed under: Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:27 am

Last Saturday when I was worried about the company Christmas party, but before I lost my coat at Fashion Place mall, I presented my first idea in the meditation class. I chose taste because it was the easiest for me. I am well acquainted with my sense of taste. We are the best of friends and the worst of enemies.

You can tell a lot about a fellow’s character by his way of eating jellybeans.  – Ronald Reagan (1911 – ), quoted in Observer, March 29 1981

Lorna set up the little table just like normal with the Buddhas and candle. I added a huge selection of different flavored mints to it. Every flavor of Altoid that has been released was present, along with Tic Tacs, Smints and a few others brands I didn’t recognize or even remember. I realized that I should have test run this idea before running the class on it because I had no idea how long a mint would last in a person’s mouth.

Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each.  – Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

We started by bowing to the Buddha in all of us and got right down to the business of eating. The first meditation was fifteen minutes, just like always. I chose the ginger Altoid, which was a good idea at first, but there was a point in which I just wanted the thing out of my mouth because it was burning me too much. I didn’t think that ginger could make my tongue feel so hot.

Everything in excess! To enjoy the flavor of life, take big bites. Moderation is for monks.  – Excerpt from the notebooks of Lazarus Long, from Robert Heinlein’s “Time Enough for Love”

I could only taste the mint on the tip and sides of my tongue, so I moved the mint around quite a bit. Other than that, I left it unmolested. No biting. It was incredibly hard not to chomp the mint, especially when it was paper thin and threatening to cut my palate. I resisted, though, and I felt it disintegrate between my tongue and teeth in a final flaming burst. I let my mouth rest from the hot ginger. I wasn’t ready for another mint to touch my tongue yet.

Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.  – Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755 – 1826), The Physiology of Taste, 1825

I was surprised at the chime announcing the end of the fifteen minutes. That one mint lasted almost the entire time. The most amazing thing is that the focus of my attention was entirely on my mouth the entire fifteen minutes. The taste of the mint, keeping it safe from crunching, the burning sensation in my mouth and the feeling of its final disintegration kept my attention fully in the moment. It was one of my most successful meditation sessions ever.

I volunteered to teach these classes because I wanted to experience them myself. I hope everyone else enjoys them as much as I am going to.


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