Photo: Nan Sao
Beyond the health benefits and pleasure an apple can provide when we view the apple on an even grander scale, we can see it as a representative of our cosmos. Look deeply at the apple in your hand and you see the farmer who tended the apple tree; the blossom that became the fruit; the fertile earth, the organic material from decayed remains of prehistoric marine animals and algae, and the hydrocarbons themselves; the sunshine, the clouds, and the rain. Without the combination of these far-reaching elements and without the help of many people, the apple would simply not exist.
At its most essential, the apple you hold is a manifestation of the wonderful presence of life. It is interconnected with all that is. It contains the whole universe, it is an ambassador of the cosmos coming to nourish our existence. It feeds our body, and if we eat it mindfully, it also feeds our soul and recharges our spirit.
Eating an apple consciously is to have a new awareness of the apple, of our world and of our own life. It celebrates nature, honoring what Mother Earth and the cosmos have offered us. Eating an apple with mindfulness is a meditation and can be deeply spiritual. With this awareness and insight, you begin to have a greater feeling of gratitude for and appreciation of the food you eat, and your connection to nature and all others in our world. As the apple becomes more real and vibrant, your life becomes more real and vibrant. Savoring the apple is mindfulness at work. And it is mindfulness that will help you reconnect with yourself and become healthier in mind, body and spirit now and in the future.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a Vietnamese Buddhist Zen Master, poet, scholar and peace activist. His courageous efforts to generate peace in Vietnam moved Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. to nominate him for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1967. Thich Nhat Hanh is the author of many books including such important classics as Peace is Every Step, The Art of Power and his most recent,Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life. He lives in Plum Village, his meditation center in France, and travels worldwide.
Dr. Lilian Cheung, D.Sc., R.D., is a lecturer and Director of Health Promotion and Communication at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition. Cheung has been a student of Thich Nhat Hanh since 1997.
More Words of Wisdom from Thich Nhat Hanh:
How to change your eating habits forever
5 things to think about when you eat
Thich Nhat Hanh shares the secret to happiness with Oprah
12 of his most inspiring quotes