Mindful ZenEating Meditation Experienced by Professionals, Zen Monks and Noh Traditional Japanese Actor [Event Report]
I offered ZenEating to professionals in the fields of Japanese culture, Zen and leadership and body awareness.
The feedback from the professionals after the experience made me nod my head in agreement.
In particular, I received deep insights and favorable reviews from a Noh actor and a Zen monk.
I will introduce their impressions later in this article.
If you haven’t experienced ZenEating yet, don’t miss it.
After reading this, you will be able to answer the question:
‘What are the benefits to eating mindfully?’
Table of Contents
-Learning from a master who is popular for his cutting edge Zen instruction that embodies a state of effortless strength
-Reviews from professionals from other fields to the ZenEating experience
-What is ZenEating?
-Try experiencing ZenEating
Learning from a master of wisdom and the body, a Noh performer whose high virtue can be observed from his presence.
Noh is a major form of classical Japanese dance-drama that has been performed since the 14th century. It is the oldest major theater art that is still regularly performed today. It is often described as one of the forms of embodiment of Zen spirituality.
He showed interest in ZenEating, to my great honor.
I am happy to say that we hit it off, and I was given the opportunity to learn from him.
He has taught me many perspectives on “Japanese Classics and the Body” and “Noh and Breathing.”
Our discussion and many of his books have inspired me to develop some of my ZenEating ideas.
For example, a passage from Mr. Yasuda’s book The Japanese Body says that, “When we think of the senses, we immediately think of the five senses, but there are many other senses as well,” this idea was and is still being used as the underlying theme for ZenEating.
In the book The Japanese Body, he mentioned the visceral senses, but in this ZenEating, I tweaked it a bit to make it a journey of the five senses and senses beyond the five senses.
I know this sounds mysterious but please continue reading!
We Japanese use the expression “Seeing the taste” for tasting and “Hearing the aroma” for smelling.
Seeing food can be done not only with our eyes but also with our other senses.
Smelling food can be done not only with our nose but also with our other senses.
This is a playful imagination using the somatic experience.
In my case, when I say “see and enjoy,” I mean that I can “see” flavors through other organs, such as the surface of my tongue, or through a vague and elusive sensation that transcends the five senses which we usually associate with.
I hope this doesn’t sound too spiritual for you, but try it! You will definitely feel it.
In addition, the word “taste” in Japanese has many meanings, such as tasting the fresh air, tasting nature.
They are common expressions here in Japan.
When you taste a meal, you are not only tasting the flavor, but you are also tasting the mood and time.
If you actually try it while eating, it will be interesting to experience sensations that you can’t feel when you are just reading the text, so please give it a try.
-Learning from a master who is popular for his cutting edge Zen instruction that embodies a state of effortless strength
Ishho Fujita is a Zen monk who taught zazen at a Japanese “meditation training hall” in Massachusetts, the U.S. for 17years and served as the second director of the Soto Zen International Center.
I have been reading his books such as Buddhism Updated and Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind 2 since I was a student.
I have always admired him from afar, so it was a dream come true to be able to talk with him in person.
I was also very happy that he participated in my ZenEating event.
I have expanded and interpreted what I learned from Mr. Fujita’s book, Lectures of Zazen in a New Age and have been incorporating it into ZenEating recently.
In his book, he says, “If you set a goal or ideal to pursue in advance and then strive to achieve it, this way of thinking of proficiency and improvement makes you become a manually driven person that focuses on mastering the particular technique of an individual human being (ego).”
This means that you shouldn’t focus on achieving goals, this limits you, and if you release those attachments to achieve concrete goals this can transcend your limits.
A shift in perspective is needed to be undertaken.
As a breakthrough, he says, we should cultivate a delicate physical sense and use it as a guide.
It seems to me that there is a shift in perspective that can be applied with the attitude toward ZenEating.
I always welcome people who come to ZenEating to seek something beneficial and at the same time want to feel good and relaxed! (It is truly beneficial anyway), but I often get the impression that they have a lot of pressure on their shoulders if you focus on the benefits.
In many cases, they become very tense and nervous if I try really hard to meet their expectations straight forward.
This attitude may make both parties feel more pressure and cause even more tension.
I can meet the expectation but if I do so we are facing the same problem on the same stage. Therefore, I should not meet their expectation to transcend the perspective.
Lately, I have been thinking that not meeting those expectations intentionally can help them get out of that cycle of forcing themselves to work harder.
This radical perspective shift is needed to lessen the burden they put unto themselves.
I believe that ZenEating doesn’t need to be memorized and achieved by following instructions.
Instead of looking for a manual, I tell them to listen to their physical sensations.
I was able to attend Mr. Fujita’s zen meditation, which is a Zen meditation gathering, for the first time the other day.
I was impressed by the richness of the time spent warming up my body before sitting in the meditation posture.
This time helped open up the body and eyes to receive the new perspective.
Perhaps because I sat in zen meditation after my body had well been relaxed, I felt an overflowing sense of fulfillment even though I did not intend to be fulfilled.
By relaxing my body, which we usually tend to neglect, I naturally became aware of what I was doing, even though I was not trying hard to learn.
I think this can be applied to ZenEating as well as any other situation in daily life.
-Reviews from professionals to the ZenEating experience
We had 15 participants this time, and received wonderful feedback from all of them.
I noticed that homemade rice had the aroma that goes through my nose while the aroma of packed foods from convenience stores didn’t have the same sensation. Also, although the convenience store prepared foods tasted good, there was something off about the aftertaste.
It was interesting to see how I feel the food on my tongue if I slow down. It was also interesting that she guided me to put the chopsticks back on the table after each bite.
Half a bowl of rice, a small amount of soup, and a few bites of side dishes was enough to make me feel full.
-Noboru Yasuda, Noh performer and author
I was trying to figure out which one from several dishes my body truly wanted as I followed the instructions. This gave me the opportunity to encounter each unique food in a different way.
I encountered pickles with pickles, and spring rolls with spring rolls. I was able to enjoy the different encounters as if I was meeting a new person.
I imagined that I would eat it quickly, after the instruction was over like “Now I am free!” But the pace didn’t pick up because of the sensations that I was feeling. Perhaps the experience that I took it slow at the beginning created the afterglow.
I was reminded of the time when I ate a meal across from Thich Nhat Hanh (a world-renowned Zen leader) at a retreat, and he told me “Eat Slowly” when I ate as I was shoveling in my food.
-Mr. Issho Fujita, Zen monk and author
I also received wonderful feedback from professionals in various fields. Here are some of them.
I was impressed how different and deeper the feeling of eating meditation with a guide would be from doing it on my own. I realized that my eyes and ears are not focused on the food when I usually eat.
Even if I eat in this ZenEating style for only the first few bites , the rest of the meal feels more sharp and enriched. Thank you very much for the enrichment.
-Mr. Tomohiro Kimura, Gaiax IT company
I was looking forward to participating in the ZenEating experience because it has been getting popular, after experiencing it, I understand why it is so popular.
I have experienced mindful eating elsewhere, but what I particularly liked about ZenEating was that we first stretched our bodies. This helped sharpen our senses during the meal.
I felt that only Momoe can make this a gentle and supportive environment. She guided us to practice proper meditation.
-Mr. Mikio Shishido, Founder, Kamakura Mindfulness Lab Co.
It was the first time I had tasted and eaten so much. I think the feature of ZenEating is that it makes you love the food and makes even the simplest ingredients taste juicy.
-Mr. Koji Miki, Co-founder of Zen2.0 General Incorporated Association / Founder of enmono Co.
I realized that I usually eat without using most of my sensory functions and that I only taste a part of the food I eat.
I wondered if it is possible to say that I only taste a part of the food I eat, and not only with food, but also in all my daily experiences.
It was a new experience for me to taste the food, to feel not only the sweetness but also the astringency of the grapes, and to feel that I was receiving the fruit of the earth.
-Life Coach, Ms. E
I realized that the reason why I usually overeat is because I don’t taste it properly like I did today.
I was surprised that I could feel more things than I imagined. I am a fast eater, but it was interesting that I couldn’t speed up after I slowed down at the beginning. Today’s dishes were very tasty, and I could fully taste the dishes which was an eye opening experience for me. I realized that the taste of food reflects my state of mind.
-IT company employee, Mr. S
I have always eaten while working, but I feel that I should take time to eat properly even if I have to make someone wait at work. Today’s session helped me to clear my head and find answers to matters for consultation that I felt I couldn’t handle at work.
-Associate University Professor, Mr. H
This was a special event, and I was joined by people who have been very supportive to me.
I was overwhelmed by the wonderful feedback from people I respect who have outstanding talent.
I am so grateful to be in an environment where I can receive guidance from professionals and personalities in various fields.
I have received wonderful influences, both tangible and intangible, from all of you.
Thank you for everything.
(If you don’t know who these people are, do a Google search and you’ll see what amazing people they are.)
What is Zen Eating?
Zen Eating is Mindful Eating Meditation inspired by Japanese Zen Buddhism.
Eating carefully, one bite at a time, with a guide, calms the mind, regulates your thoughts, and gives you a relaxing and positive feeling.
In the last four months, Zen Eating online had more than 500 guests from 30 countries.
It has also been adopted as a corporate team building and wellness program.
“We don’t pay attention to the meals in today’s busy world. Eating in a relaxed manner can give us a hint on how to enrich our daily lives”
I have received many comments like this.
I offer online workshops that are inspired by food and make you feel at peace.
Eating while sharpening the five senses makes everyday meals feel richer.
I look forward to sharing time to rediscover the joy of eating and life with you!
Try listening to the free audio of Zen Eating
What will you do in a ZenEating workshop?
Learn to eat to enrich your life & access new ways of eating!
This is a perfect experience for you to enjoy every bite as you will learn to eat to enrich your life & access new ways of eating!
During this experience, I will take you on a 1-hour journey of eating meditation that will bring you peaceful and joyful energy.
First, we will meet online.
Then, this experience begins with an introduction to zen, including how to eat mindfully. I will guide you to induce relaxation through simple exercise and breathing techniques.
Next, we start eating in a relaxed state for 20 minutes. Mindful eating is one of the practices in Buddhism that is easy to implement in your own life. You may feel a connection with people, food, and nature. Eating together slowly in a calm and relaxed environment will leave you feeling more grounded.
Finally, we take a moment to share how we feel together. This is helpful for you to clear your mind, connect with others, and end the experience with a positive feeling.
Great for corporate teams and groups
Many companies applied this experience for team building and wellness activity. (Top IT Company from Silicon Valley U.S.A/ Consulting/ Venture Capital)
I accept groups up to 100! Contact me for more availability.
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ZEN EATING ORGANIZER and FACILITATOR from Tokyo, Japan
Developing and facilitating Zen Eating providing mindfulness practice through food inspired by Japanese Zen Buddhism.
This online program has applied for a team-building and wellness activity by Google, Accenture, along with other companies and conferences.
She has helped over 500 people from 30 countries to have a peaceful mind in 4 months despite the circumstances that this Covid19 Pandemic as her program activates your senses by eating in a meditative state.
She is a cultural salad bowl by herself from her varied experiences from living in Egypt and India, traveling over 30 countries, having a grandfather that is a mountain priest of Japanese traditional way of training one’s mind.
Worked for the wellness dept of a luxury resort hotel Hoshino and IT food company Cookpad.
Graduated from Chuo University, the Faculty of Policy Studies, and studied Zen and Japanese culture.
She is writing a book and dreaming to make a documentary video of Zen Eating.