In an attempt to gain perspective on the world and my place in it, I attended a retreat last weekend where the focus was on contemplation and inward reflection. Both of those acts take a lot of quiet to achieve, so much of our time together was spent in silence. This included our mealtimes, spent together but in total silence. Now, what I want to tell you is that it was amazing to eat this way- that all of my other senses were heightened, and that I had some deep epiphanies that only come when one takes herself out of a situation has time and space to reflect.
But, it was awkward.
I know this is only MY experience. The monk leading the retreat was clearly fine, having done this three meals a day, seven days a week for goodness knows how long. It was the rest of us who were trying to get there, and probably only me who was fidgety in the process. I felt that the food went unappreciated, like it was there for the nourishment of our bodies only and not really for our enjoyment. How can we enjoy something fully without the ability to share it?
What was funny, too, was that the normal cues for ending a meal were lost. One had to just get up from the table and leave. I felt like I left the table in a snit, got up, turned around and stomped off without a word.
Clearly, I need more practice.