In foreplay and sex, we are naturally very focused. Swimming in blissy rapture, we feel as if the scene contains every possible window to all that matters. Expression after expression seems deep & meaningful, suggesting hints & containing clues. We are whelmed, we are engaged.
Sex exemplifies focus. Its absorbed intimate moments are what it means to be in the moment, present to the situation, in flow. At our most engaged best, doing anything, we feel kinda like that -- caught up in a clean clear focus, not thinking about other things, no risk of feeling off-track.
I love watching movies by myself. They pull me in. Great ones -- American Beauty, The Rules Of Attraction, Almost Famous, Amores Perros, Moulin Rouge -- magnetize my attention even more than some sex. Getting so absorbed -- straining to catch each nuance -- drowning in tidal waves of choreographed perfection -- worshipping the filmmakers -- is our most direct close personal experience of power. The total clarity of gripped attention feels like ultimate freedom.
Come again? Momentary ultimate freedom: the freedom to haughtily ignore eveything else in the world, solidly grounded in sublime confidence that your attention is right where, by every competing standard, it has to be. (Big picture: It feels newer & cleaner -- constantly refreshing -- to live life in serial, savoring each event, rather than in parallel, distracted by mere possibilities.)
This ultimate treat, the delectable gripped attention, is a treat I try to give myself in more & more domains. Enraptured eating most interests me right now, for several reasons. Most notably, there is a huge disparity between how hard we typically work to get good food and then how hard we appreciate it once it's here. People will often drive 20 minutes & wait another 30 minutes for a perfect meal, and then talk all the way through it. Here's a face of evil: distracting ourselves from the purest moments we've worked the hardest to allow.
In choosing to recapture eating, we have a ton of physiology on our side. Eating is a directly vital life pattern (like breathing). It is fraught with danger, so our reptile brains & senses are sharply attuned to its nuances. Food naturally comes in so much variety, with each difference viscerally & immediately palpable. We explore food chiefly via the sense of taste, a much-neglected member of the Big 5, a sense we otherwise barely use. Like sexual pleasure, food satisfaction cuts right to our deepest animal health indicators. Each day, we get only so many calories to play with, and I more & more think there's no reason to miss them.
Now, if only I could stop forgetting to let myself notice. Enjoying the enjoyable sounds so simple, doesn't it?