First off, you gotta’ love seemingly random connections in the most unexpected of places. During this morning’s commute from Brooklyn on the 4 train, I spied a Real Happiness reader sitting directly across from me. After several stops had come and gone, I introduced myself to this fellow traveler—who just happened to be the BYS blog’s own Libby! How cool is that? It was great to chat briefly with her this morning about our practice. Gratitude!
Now on to the topic of the day: Pizza.
Not the gooey, doughy, Chicago-style carbohydrate bombs of my youth. Nor the frozen cardboard planks of my entry-level worker years. No, the pizza I’m talkin’ about is 100% Brooklyn: Luigi’s, on Fifth Avenue and 21st Street.
I’m not ashamed to admit to enjoying a slice of Sullivan Street Bakery’s flatbread pizza on occasion; their cauliflower creation is nearly beyond words, as is their fennel. And I’ve been known to settle down for the evening with a bottle of red and an artisanal pie at Otto Enoteca or Giuseppina’s. But when you’re craving “a slice”—plain, simple, no frills—Luigi’s delivers, every time.
The heady aroma of the tangy, not-too-sweet sauce. The powdery, slightly grainy texture of the crust. The glistening consistency of the cheese. The red-flake explosion of peperoncino, scattered here and there. The confluence of crunchy and chewy on the palette. The resting of the hand after each taste. The reaching, again, for the next bite. The abstract forms marking, roughly, where each slice had sat in the box.
Yes, that’s right. Yesterday I did the Eating Pizza Meditation. And it was delicious.
I figured I deserved it, following the full 20-minute body-scan meditation I’d done earlier in the day. But the Eating Pizza Meditation was no less legitimate. After all, this body of flesh and bone is the annamaya-kosha, the food sheath, the vehicle for experiencing pleasure and pain, for reaching and grasping. When we’re mindful of our food—what we eat, when we eat, how we eat, why we eat—we gain a better understanding of our bodies and how we interact with the world around us.
For me, too, mindful eating has been a core part of my weight-loss journey. I’ve shed about 50 pounds over the past year and a half. I continue to succeed and, yes, struggle in that journey, and much of my achievement can be attributed to mindfulness (although I didn’t necessarily recognize it by that name at the time). So, yesterday won’t be the last time I do a conscious meditation on consumption.
But, for now, I’m signing off. It’s already mid-afternoon, and this post has made me ravenous.