Basically, this technique asks you to pay attention to the start of any new action.
- When you lift your fork or spoon to your mouth, you're beginning to take a bite.
- When you bring butter to your bread, you're beginning to butter the bread.
- When you lift the glass to your lips, you're beginning to take a drink.
A meal or snack is full of beginnings! Each new bite or sip has a new action. When you take time to be aware of these, you bring new mindfulness to your eating.
Noticing the Beginnings
Here are some examples of how you can notice the beginnings in your eating. These are only a few of the hundreds of actions to which you can attend while you eat. You will notice in the examples here that you will be paying attention to the simplest of actions. It might seem a little silly at first, but remember that mindlessness comes from making our actions---even the simplest ones---into habits, and habits can be done without thinking or attention.
Your conscious effort to notice these actions will keep you in the meal and defeat many of your habit actions.
1. As you bring your fork or spoon to your mouth, think to yourself, "I'm beginning a new bite."
2. As you bring your glass to your lips, think, "I'm beginning to take a drink."
3. As you turn the salt shaker over, think, "I'm beginning to salt my food."
4. As you tap the ketchup bottle, think, "I'm beginning to pour ketchup."
5. As you pick up the napkin, think, "I'm beginning to use a napkin."
6. As you grab your sandwich, think, "I'm beginning to eat the next bite of sandwich."
7. As you pass food to your neighbor, think, "I'm beginning to pass food to my neighbor."
8. As you eat more of your food, think, "I'm beginning to see more of my plate."
Over time, you will automatically think in terms of "beginnings" as you eat. You mind will be more trained to pay attention to these tiny details.
Remember, with mindfulness there are no small actions. Even the simplest act can be the most important thing you'll do all day if you do it mindfully.