The Art of Eating

Whenever you are half-hearted about anything, it lingers longer.

If you are sitting at your table and eating, and if you eat only half-heartedly and your hunger remains, then you will continue to think about food the whole day. You can try fasting and you will see: you will continuously think about food. But if you have eaten well — and when I say eaten well, I don’t mean only that you have stuffed your stomach. Then it is not necessarily so that you have eaten well. You could have stuffed yourself. But eating well is an art. It is not just stuffing. It is great art: to taste the food, to smell the food, to touch the food, to chew the food, to digest the food, and to digest it as divine. It is divine; it is a gift from the divine.

Hindus say, Anam Brahma – food is divine. So with deep respect you eat, and while eating you forget everything, because it is a prayer. It is an existential prayer. You are eating the divine and the divine is going to give you nourishment. It is a gift to be accepted with deep love and gratitude. And you don’t stuff the body, because stuffing the body is being anti-body. It is the other pole.

There are people who are obsessed with fasting, and there are people who are obsessed with stuffing themselves. Both are wrong because in both the ways the body loses balance. A real lover of the body eats only to the point where body feels perfectly quiet, balanced, tranquil; where body feels to be neither leaning to the left nor to the right, but just in the middle. It is an art to understand the language of the body, to understand the language of your stomach, to understand what is needed, to give only that which is needed, and to give that in an artistic way, in an aesthetic way.

Animals eat, man eats. Then what is the difference? Man makes a great aesthetic experience out of eating. What is the point of having a beautiful dining table? What is the point of having candles burning there? What is the point of incense? What is the point of asking friends to come and participate? It is to make it an art, not just stuffing. But these are outward signs of the art; the inward signs are to understand the language of your body, to listen to it, to be sensitive to its needs. And then you eat, and then the whole day you will not remember food at all. Only when the body is hungry again will the remembrance come. Then it is natural.