Our senses exist to give us information about our environments. We experience sound and smell and sight and touch and taste so we can interpret our surroundings. The thing about the senses, though, is that we often forget to engage with them, instead going into autopilot.
It is an unfortunate fact that the rest of the world often tells us to silence our inner compass, in favor of gogogo. When we gogogo, we learn to passively experience our environments. We forget that, in reality, we have the ability to hone our own joy, and one way we can do that is through our senses. This is because our senses give us information about what we like.
The truth is, we do ourselves and the world a great disservice when we neglect our own desires. When we deny ourselves the ability to experience joy or pleasure, we prevent literally everything we encounter from experiencing us with our cups full. And let me take a moment to remind you: only when our cups are full, are we able to pour for others.
We have talked about the other four senses already (sight and smell and hearing and touch), and I have saved [what I personally feel is] the best for last in our sensuality series: taste. This tends to be one of the more rewarding senses for people, as it’s one we indulge every day. Think about it–you primarily pick out things to eat that you enjoy tasting. Even if it isn’t indulgent, if you like the taste of a certain type of lettuce or juice or grain, that’s the ingredient you’re going to reach for.
Though taste is a sense that we have honed–like all the other senses we have talked about, we do still often engage with it unconsciously. So, I made for us a practice to be intentional about it, even if it’s only for a moment.
Bon appetit ❤
Set aside some time for yourself, with the intention to experience taste. Prepare something luscious, like a juicy plate of perfectly ripe pineapple, or a piece of smooth, dark chocolate. Make sure it’s something you enjoy.
Begin tasting with your eyes first, indulging in the colors of what you’re about to taste. Is it bright, rich, deep? Do the colors change? Notice any textural differences on your food, like where pineapple turns to juice, or where cake meets frosting. Notice if there’s a spot you’d like to bite into first, just from looking.
Next, bring your food up close. Close your eyes and allow the aroma of it to come to you. Notice the nuances of the aroma. Is it sweet, floral, bitter? Do you have any associations with what you smell? Any memories coming up? Notice, and return to the present moment.
Slowly, slowly, bring it to your lips. Just to touch. What do your lips feel as they meet your food? Is it soft, smooth, melty, wet? Allow the food to gently part your lips. Take your time. Notice if you get a little taste before you’ve even taken a bite. Just from touching. Savor it.
Start with the tip of your tongue, noticing if the food still seems to exude the qualities you had noticed before. Or, does it change? Perhaps it melts. What is the first thing that expresses itself to you this way? Spend a moment longer here, then let your lips slowly close over without biting yet. Pull away. Notice the flavor left in your mouth.
Slowly, slowly, take your first bite. Not a big one–there is always time to take another. Let it touch every spot off your tongue, chewing a little bit more slowly with every opening and closing of the jaws. Notice where the flavor touches you. Perhaps it’s on the sides of the tongue, or on the center of the tongue, or it hits the roof of the mouth. Savor every last bit of your bite before gently swallowing. Repeat to your heart’s desire.