Eating while on retreat is probably the thing I most look forward to each day. Probably most mediators do, because the meals are really the only source of external stimulation that exists. There are no electronics, no Internet. Hell, it’s a silent retreat so you can’t even talk. There is no stimulation whatsoever, expect two meals a day.
Yes, we only eat two meals a day, one in the morning and one just before noon. (Evenings are for fasting.) It sounds brutal, I know, but truly it’s not as bad as it may seem. After all, sitting all day doesn’t exactly burn the calories.
What really makes eating amazing, though, is that I’m in the right mindset to really enjoy my food. Most of the time when I eat, it seems like eating is less about enjoying the experience and more about getting food down my cake hole and into my belly. In real life, food tends to be a means to an end — sometimes it’s even an inconvenient necessity. While on retreat, however, I am more likely to enjoy each and every bite, to appreciate the texture and flavor of every morsel. I can experience the true joy of food and the simple pleasure of eating. A retreat may not be all about the eats, but the meals bring home the point of it all, in terms of the connection between meditation and the real world.
Note: I am currently sitting on my ass for a 10 day meditation retreat. This post was written and scheduled in advance.