Book Club Meeting, Chapter 9: Cooking and Eating

Any activity can become an opportunity for meditation – particularly eating, and everything else that comes with it, from food prep to cooking, to washing the dishes. The ninth chapter of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Making Space sheds a beautiful light on how to practice mindful eating.

Having the opportunity to sit and enjoy a wonderful meal is something precious, something not everyone has,” he says. Being able to eat a wonderful meal with friends and family is a gorgeous reminder on how fortunate we are. Doing so mindfully also brings about feelings of compassion for those who are not as fortunate.

As we chop vegetables, it would benefit us to do so with full awareness. To think of the farmers who grew each one, and of all the hands and hard work it took to get that vegetable from the farm to our counter top.


As we cook a meal, we can be mindful of the beauty in the sounds and scents made throughout the process, reminding us of how fortunate we are to have the ability to cook our own food.


Before we eat, we can recite The Five Contemplations that Nhat Hanh provides:

1. This food is a gift of the whole universe, the earth, the sky, and much hard work.

2. May we eat in mindfulness so as to be worthy to receive it.

3. May we transform our unskillful states of mind and learn to eat in moderation.

4. May we take only foods that nourish us and prevent illness.

5. May we accept this food to realize the path of understanding and love. 


Each time we eat a meal, we are given the opportunity to do so mindfully; to truly connect to the souls of those eating along with us – or if we’re eating alone, to connect with ourselves and be grateful for our bodies as we fuel them with nutrients.


When it comes time for the cleanup, we can find peace and joy in the process. I love how Nhat Hanh suggests to wash dishes as though we’re washing a baby. He provides the following words for us to repeat, whether out loud or in our minds:

 Washing the dishes

is like bathing a baby.

The profane is the sacred.

Everyday mind is enlightened mind.


In the past, I’ve found washing dishes to be something I dreaded, but when I remember to do so as though I’m washing a precious child, the entire task seems to miraculously turn itself around.

+ How do you turn eating into a form of meditation?

This post is part of our Book Club series, featuring Making Space: Creating a Home Meditation Practice by Thich Nhat Hanh.

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7 years ago

From now on, I will try to have everyday meal with “May we eat in mindfulness so as to be worthy to receive it.”

7 years ago

Ahhh! I love this post…..I have always thought that every day things should be treated like small rituals. Everything from, yes, eating, to getting ready for the day to how you organize yourself, etc. Eating is a huge one though because it really is what is sustaining us…..what we choose to eat and how we choose to eat it is so vital to our being! These are lovely tips and I’ll have to check out that book. :)

xxxoxox~~ Haley

7 years ago

As an Italian girl, food has always been a huge part of my life, as well as source of inspiration of my everyday existence. Breakfasts, lunches and dinners are nor just “eating time”, but a precious moment of sharing and joy, whether alone or with your loved ones. I will always thank my roots for transmitting to me these important routines that make my daily meals moments of contemplation, mindful eating and sharing.

7 years ago

Love this – especially the reminder that the ability to take time and care with food is such a luxury. Beautiful!

Warm Regards,