Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Baking Bread - mindfully

Yesterday, I went to The Swanage School, where I did some mindfulness work with two students. I taught them to make bread.

For me, making bread is full of symbolism and meaning. It is a process of transition and constant change. It involves constant attention, requires physical strength, and needs endless patience in order for the bread to evolve and "bloom".

The students I was with yesterday began by feeling fairly unsure of what they were about to do. Neither of them were really sure about what was going to be involved, but they got stuck in, anyway. As they began to mix the flour and yeast mixture together with their hands, I could see they were getting into it. They wanted to succeed, even though they had some doubts about their ability. Neither of them had ever made bread, before. I asked the students to really focus on the sensations, and use their senses to fully appreciate their efforts. Thoughts and feelings were expressed throughout. :)

As they left their trays of dough to prove in the lunchtime sunlight beaming through the windows, I saw how the students cared about their work. They wanted their efforts to succeed. When they returned 45 minutes later to enormous balls of dough, they were amazed. Then came the bit they had been waiting for: beating the air out of their dough. Taking out their frustrations, before moulding it into the shape they wanted their loaves to be, before placing back on the windowsill to rise.

When they returned later to collect their huge golden loaves from the food-tech room, full of the delicious aroma of freshly-baked bread which had just come out of the oven, they couldn't believe their eyes! The expressions on their faces were of pride, amazement, and happiness. They had gone through the whole process from start to finish using mindfulness, and achieved something wonderful out of it, at the end.

Achieving something wonderful in mindfulness or meditation terms, can take any physical form, but using mindfulness in our activities also brings about an inner form, in the shape of happiness, calm, pride, satisfaction, or more besides. But it also creates the moment of just being. Being present in each moment and fully experiencing what our bodies and our minds are creating: a sense of inner peace.

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