Sacred Alter

@ Hoh Rainforest Valley, Mt. Olympic

5 Contemplations:

*This food is the gift of the whole universe – the EARTH, the SKY, and MUCH HARD WORK.

*May we eat in mindfulness so as to be worthy to receive it.

*May we transform our unskillful states of mind and learn to eat with moderation.

*May we take only foods that nourish me and prevent illness.

*We accept this food to realize the path of understanding and love.

—–    compiled by THICH NHAT HANH

I remember chanting this for the first time publicly.  It was at a dinner with some friends in CA.  We had just finished making some fried stuffed squash blossoms — delicious — and we were about to enjoy them when I’m fairly certain the sole contemplation they heard  was “…eat with moderation.”  During our meal, their reactions ranged from eating less to questioning how much they ate and should eat.  One of the things which stood out was that we carried on the conversation of nourishment and what we need and what we want  with our food; something I think the contemplations are good for:  initiating the conversation on our diet, including the not so traditional aspects such as the source, its sacredness, and how we think when we consume our food and nourish ourselves.  Is it done with our full thought behind it? Or are we more likely in a race to finish before we have to get back to work or do another task or activity?

I’m curious for you, which one of the contemplations resonates most?  Maybe try responding both before and after you’ve actually sat with the contemplations in mind while you eat.  Maybe even try it with friends  🙂

Your thoughts?

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