After all, we tend to look at what’s there, rather than what isn’t. We notice the mirror finish, an obvious design point. We notice the simple but lovely, arboreal shapes of the pieces. We might even notice the tensile strength of the 18/10 stainless steel. This feature, however, and often the essence of being mindful, is an absence of something - capacity. There is a slight but noticeable, and intentional, reduction in the usual portion capacity.
If it is noticed, (when it is eventually noticed!), it might be attributed to a simple conceit of the designer - something merely, deliberately, different from the ‘norm’. (It isn’t.)
The reduced capacity means that, while eating from something that is a joy to hold and to use, it becomes much more difficult than it normally is to rush a meal. More attention is required for each mouthful. The pace of eating is slowed. Taking each mouthful becomes a more conscious act. Thus the food and the act of eating come into focus, rather than providing a barely registered background for conversation or for the random series of thoughts to which we are all subject.
Buddhists call these random thoughts, ‘monkey thoughts’ because we swing, randomly from one to another without noticing where they take us or where they come from, like monkeys swinging from tree to tree. And our conversations often follow the same random patterns, while much of the detail of our present moment, the experience in which we are living, becomes vague and blurred. If we are honest, most of us have to admit that much of the time we place food in our mouths without thinking about it, sometimes without really tasting it while we are distracted by other things, including our own thoughts.