1. Begin from the very first moment you place the water on the heat, or pour the oil in the pan. Listen to the sounds, the smells and the sensations that the heat immediately gives rise to.
2. As you begin to cook the various foods, notice how the addition of each new ingredient affects the overall fragrance of the dish. Allow yourself to be 100 percent present with the different senses, rather than being lost in thought. Each time the mind wanders, just gently bring the attention back to these sounds and smells.
3. Try to be aware of how your mood and your thinking changes throughout the cooking process. Do you find the heat oppressive? Do you find yourself getting anxious trying to keep all the different things going at once, or confident and in control? Don’t try and change any of these things for now –- simply building up a picture is enough.
4. As you observe the mind, use the physical senses as a safe place to come back to when you feel the emotions running off. For example, rather than feeling anxious about feeling anxious, come back to the smell of the food. Instead of getting increasingly frustrated at feeling frustrated, bring your attention back to the sounds of the food cooking.
5. Throughout this exercise, notice how your mind behaves. Is it a mind that’s comfortable being in the moment? Or does it tend to race off to plan things for the future, or drift off to memories of the past? Being aware of the thoughts in this way will help you to get much better at the exercise, which, for most people, means enjoying a more serene experience in the kitchen.