Bread and Meditation? Finding Your Groove in Unlikely Places

kneading

Yesterday, I was chatting with my friend Cameron on Facebook about finding balance. Everyone has their own way finding that pleasing state of equilibrium that makes you feel that things are okay, even if only for now. I mentioned to him that baking bread makes me feel grounded. I always thought that was kind of funny. But it’s so true. He made a very interesting observation — there are many types of meditation and baking is one of them. It allows one to focus on a single object. (Be sure to check out Cameron’s blog – he is a talented visual artist, devout foodie and always has an interesting outlook on things)

Meditation is a technique for resting the mind. We are trying to attain a higher state of consciousness, one that is different from our normal waking state. The goal is to quiet the mind, to streamline the continual swhirl of thoughts by giving the mind a single focus.

A meditation practice requires: 1) concentration – the ability to focus your attention and 2) mindfulness – the ability to calmly observe and be aware of what you are doing with compassion and detachment.

So how does this apply to my passion for baking bread?

Concentration

When I’m creating a loaf of bread I give it all of my attention. I love what I am doing, become immersed in the process and am able to let go of everything else. It’s like the other parts of my life become temporarily suspended. There are few things that get my undivided attention like this. Like most of us, my day is usually filled with multitasking and a brain that’s trying to run a complete marathon every hour!

Mindfulness or “The Baking Zone”

When I am baking bread, my thoughts tend to be things like: oh interesting, how cool, what would happen if…  as if I am observing myself and what I am doing. I love seeing the dough come together. I love checking in as it rests and rises. And oh as it bakes the heavenly smell…you just can’t help but be completely present in the moment.

When I open the oven door, I’m always in awe to see that the dough has ballooned up to form a gorgeous loaf. Of course I’ve had my share of failures — forgotten ingredients, loaves not rising, dense and hard as rock… but perhaps that is where detachment comes in to play 😉

My husband thinks my dream of opening a bakery/yoga studio is a little off the wall – but I can’t think of a better match. How about it – would you drop by?

(Later, I will post a recipe for my son Charlie’s favourite “Sesame Bread.” Give  it a try. If not for the meditative experience, for the delicious taste!)

Photo courtesy of César Astudillo

2 thoughts on “Bread and Meditation? Finding Your Groove in Unlikely Places”

  1. Yes! I get this and have even tried to convey the meditation, for me, in food preparation but especially baking. It’s why I have a difficult time eating what others prepare as I am ‘disconnected’ from the energy that went into the process. Dare I say, control freak? Perhaps 🙂 But I’m working with that…

    Can’t wait to try this recipe!

  2. Charlotte Bradley

    I read an account not that long ago (now I can’t remember where so hope I get this right) about someone who had received cookies from a friend. The storyteller was a hungry yoga instructor about to teach a class. So she ate the cookies but then felt off throughout the class but couldn’t quite figure out why. It turns out the baker had been angry (I think she’d had a fight with her partner) when she baked the cookies. I believe that there really is a transfer of energy when we prepare food!

    And control freak – well who isn’t to some degree?! Yay for yoga to help us figure it all out…

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