Alexis Kriel: Food and Consciousness
My profession gives me an opportunity to meet lot of interesting people from different walks of life. Recently I met a Celebrity chef and Indophile,(a person who loves India) its culture, tradition and so on, from South Africa by name of Alexis Kriel.
She spoke about food being a medium of exploring one’s consciousness. That is a profound thought, indeed. Her background is pretty interesting too. She spent a decade staying in an ashram (ISKCON temple) in Durban, South Africa, where she learnt regulative principles of Indian spirituality.
“In 1985, South Africa was undergoing a major transformation, and I was going through my own personal freedom struggle. I’ve remained in South Africa right through and I am very affiliated to Indian culture,” she reminisces.
From an Orthodox Jewish family, her first introduction to India was through her grandmother, a follower of Vedanta whose pilgrimages to the country created an umbilical cord. In the temple there was a lot of ritual around food and her training was just as a temple devotee and the idea of ‘prasadam’ and sanctified food became very important to her.
Cooking food for temple devotees made her senses very refined, which was also due to meditation for two hours a day. That how she developed a special connection with food, according to her food has remained a fantastic medium for exploring one’s consciousness.
While cooking food a person’s state of mind plays a very important role. If the person preparing the food is in an angry mood, people eating it might not like the taste or might get resentful as well. That’s where the theory of home food is the best food comes from, because it is made with the ingredient of love, which one doesn’t get in restaurants.
This calls a person to be conscious and aware and awake during the activity and experience it fully. She also said that if every one shut their eyes for a minute before eating food (lunch or dinner) everyday and stop externalizing, it could actually change the world.
This way you become a part of the peaceful mechanics of the natural world. Well, that’s what even the Hindu tradition is too, so after all what has been written in the Indian scripts is not irrational, and this very theory is being adopted by Westerners and forgotten by Indians, themselves.
Whatever one eats should be eaten with consciousness, the way it looks the way it feels in your mouth, again, eating should also be a meditation that is the way of slowing down.
So multi-tasking in the kitchen or multi-tasking while one eats is not slowing down, just taking time off to eat peacefully is a much more balanced way of life. It’s important to understand what you are doing and the consequences of the same. This also helps to know one’s purpose in the world. So do what you do with love and pull back from the automated mass market to the individual emotional sensory sentimental perception.
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