Sharpen your Knife, Sharpen your Mind

Dec 4, 2023 | Mindful Kitchen Practices, Watch

When I learned to cook very early in my life, there were two beliefs I had about sharpening the knife: 1) It was something dangerous and I didn’t have the skills and 2) I didn’t make time or find it boring. Then, I spent years taking the knife to the nearest butcher (when the knife could not cut anymore) to do the job for me. I didn’t know what I was missing!

Later, I understood that those beliefs were a mirror of how important the inner work was for me. First, I expected to connect deeper with myself from external sources making little or not at all time for silence, meditation, and introspection; always telling myself: “I’m too busy to stop doing my stuff to just watch my mind”. Second, I considered everything related to the mind, the field of a psychologist or a trained person until I realised no one could do the work for me and hence I had to learn the skills, just as had to learn how to sharpen my knife.  

The psychotherapeutic effects of sharpening the knife

Why sharpen the knife? Simply because a sharp knife is a safe tool that empowers the knife -not your arm or hand- to cut. With dull blades, you’re more likely to apply too much pressure or force when trying to cut something, which can lead to the blade slipping and cutting you. Dull knives are also more likely to get stuck in whatever you’re cutting, which can cause the blade to slip and cut you as well. In other words, it turns an enjoyable and meaningful task, like cutting vegetables to nourish yourself, into a stressful job.

When looking at these reasons, we can easily comprehend why is so important also to sharpen our minds: we become efficient, don’t get stuck easily, bring more enjoyment instead of overexerting ourselves, and cultivate inner safety. 

Inner safety is rooted in the energy body, it brings containment, alignment and self-awareness to the forefront and enables response and choice through present-moment awareness. Energy Healing Institute

Beyond the process of sharpening

Apart from this, I consider the moment to sharpen the knife, the time to honor it as a vital tool without which we would not have the ability to create and nourish ourselves in such an effortless way. Recognizing how important is the knife leads us to feel gratitude for the ones who in the past created this tool and all the ones after who have given the shape of what we know today as a cooks’ knife.

Similarly, when we sharpen our minds as a constant and daily practice, we discover the huge potential of our body-mind-spirit unit which brings reverence and compassion toward ourselves. It leads us to start recognizing the power of breathing, the complexity of our minds, and our innate self-regulating capacities. Deeper sharpening points us to acknowledge that our body-mind-spirit experience is possible only thanks to our parents, grandparents, and ancestors. We also naturally fill ourselves in gratitude towards the ones who in the past have taken the task to understand the mind, the ones who have passed generation through generation these tools and techniques, the ones who have preserved the teachings in which we are finding refuge today. 

Sharpen mind during menopause

Just as the knife loses its edge, so the mind does. Stress, unhealthy behaviors and relationships, illnesses and more become catalysts for anger, depression, and anxiety and from there lack of clarity and inner safety. And remember having a dull edge makes the work harder and harder, difficult or even dangerous. Menopause can bring some of these challenges. Daily practice helps to keep the mind and the knife working efficiently and build up the resilience needed for this time in our lives.

Make time to sharpen your mind in the kitchen. Every time you sharpen your knife bring yourself together into the activity to go deeper. Especially during menopause, we must increase the rest, the self-care and the exploration of our inner landscape. If the thought “I don’t have time to meditate” surrounds you, go and sharpen your knife as a reminder of the importance of stopping the doing to have time for maintenance work. Or else, the same thing will happen when we do not spend time to do backups of the information in our computer: one day something fails and then we regret we didn’t take those small fractions of life to cultivate our inner safety.

A simple practice

There are plenty of ways to sharpen our minds. In this video, I explain one of the many ways to sharpen a knife along with some practices to cultivate mindfulness in the process.

Food for thought

I invite you now to reflect:

  • What are the qualities that you recognize in yourself when your mind is sharp?
  • What causes your mind to become dull?
  • What would help you to sharpen your mind?

Remember, every time you take your knife, take two or three deep breaths, and ground yourself. Then, illuminate your mind.


Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe

Abraham Lincoln