Mindful Tasting

by Jim Drinkle

If one year ago, an omniscient being told me how many meditation hours I would proceed to bank in the months to come, I would have called bullshit. I was a logical sceptic at heart, valued the scientific method as a basis for my beliefs and was totally allergic to any ritual or ceremony that could be considered “mystical”. However, much thanks to a particular author and podcaster, I slowly became open to the concept of meditation and was convinced enough to give it an honest shot.

My first realization, like many novice meditators, was how profoundly chaotic the inner workings of my mind were. It was continuously spinning and grasping, planning for the future and dwelling on the past, focusing too much on the wrong things and not enough on the right things. Whether or not you’re noticing it, this blur of thought is always present. It distracts our attention from the sights, sounds, smells and tastes that make this world as sensational as it is.

As I became more aware of my thoughts while staring at the back of my eyelids, I was able to notice them more distinctly in my day to day life. With this clearer mind I could sink into music at a deeper level, become more engrossed by a sunset or a mountain view, or even pick up on nuances and subtleties of wine to a greater degree.

Next time you taste wine, think about what you are paying attention to. Are you fuming about the car that cut you off on your way home from work? Watching the T.V. playing in the background? Are you thinking about what other people expect you to say about the wine? What your predetermined opinion of that grape or region is? Or are you focusing your attention on the glass in front of you, the complexity of aroma it delivers and the flavor and texture arriving in your mouth?