The gratitude trail of bread
In my spiritual discipline, it’s important to not only give thanks for the food and drink that we receive, but to speak to the beings of light, angels, buddhas and saints, the Divine itself, and offer it to them to eat and drink first. That they be blessed and nourished by it. This can be as short as,
“Thank you! I deeply appreciate the food and drink. Please eat first.”,
To greeting a long list of our specific teachers, guides and angels, even the souls of the food.
My teacher, Master Zhi Gang Sha, teaches that everything and everyone has a soul, and we can talk to any soul. Yes, I talk to my food, I give thanks for it, and to it directly.
If time permits I thank the food and drink for it’s service and it’s blessing. I tell it…
“Dear souls of my dinner, you are powerful to be harmless to me and bless me only, to assist my body to wholeness and balance. Thank you. I offer love to you.”
It is also a powerful action to offer a forgiveness practice, which I do.
“I am truly sorry for any harm that has come to any soul in the bringing of this food and drink to this table, and I ask forgiveness. I am sorry for the pain or suffering that has come to any animal in allowing me to partake in this meal, and I ask forgiveness, of them and of the Divine.”
I’m coming to the bread part. Be patient.
A number of years ago I was guided to also to,
Behold the sacredness and divinity in everything. It has been a remarkable experience to sit with my food and whatever I am drinking, and say,
“I behold the sacredness and divinity within you. I am so thankful.”
and just wait for a vision to unfold. I have been so fortunate to have a somewhat open third eye, and have been astonished at the vividness of what has come to me in these blessings. I see and feel the dirt, the sun, the vegetation, rain, sky, darkness, cold, heat…all that is required to grow things. I see the animals, the formation of eggs, bringing of milk, and more. Sometimes even the molecules and starlight within. We see by this practice what actually has to happen for us to sit down at a table and eat a meal.
What started the train of thought for this writing, was sitting down to a comfort food meal of hot bread with butter and cheese, and a glass of red wine. I had had a just awful day, I didn’t feel well, the bottom had dropped entirely out of my finances, I was left hanging with a giant phone bill that I didn’t have the money for, (that is another whole story) spiritual testing was high, wide and handsome. My darling husband and I were going to start on a fairly elaborate dinner plan and I sighed and said,
“Why don’t we just have that french bread and some cheese?”
He leaped instantly to agreement, I don’t think he was all that excited about prep and cook. He does it for a living.
It seriously was one of the best meals ever, carb decadence right there in the middle of the week. Right from heaven, evoking a summer camping in Europe, where good bread, cheese and wine are the stuff of every day.
As I was doing my customary grace before this delight, I had a clear vision of the path of bread. I saw the seeds of the wheat in the darkness of the ground, the green tendrils making their way to light, great fields of breeze blown golden grain.
Do we have any real idea of what has to happen to bring food to our table? A farmer has to tend the wheat, harvest it, sell it. Those people process the wheat into flour, which in turn is sold to a buyer, who distributes it for sale at stores and bakeries. Someone has to do all that manual labor of packaging, driving, carrying, delivering. Individuals created paper, cloth, plastic, ink, machines, and the energy required to run all those machines to manifest packaging.
How many people are we talking about so far? And we haven’t even starting with the baking. Now we have the bakers and crew and their skills. Count untold gallons of water, yeast, all the energy to run ovens and other machines necessary to mix, form, bake and package loaves of bread.
Then we have distribution, trucks, drivers, receiving people, all who are a timeline to get bread where it’s supposed to go while it’s fresh. There are entire battalions of accountants, bankers, records keepers and wage wranglers. Enormous amounts of money changing hands all along the way. Advertising with all its paper, ink, and the printers who produce it. Brick and mortar stores, with all their energy requirements.
All this and probably more to bring a $2.95 loaf of bread to our table for a little whiff of Nirvana. That’s pretty damned amazing. One could expand that to almost anything that comes to us. When we give thanks, and follow the trail back to the creation of the food and drink and objects that come to us, we are talking thousands of souls. Look at the phone in your hand and think what all had to happen for it to be your servant. The clothes you wear, the house you live in.
Of course, it all comes from the mother Earth, mother Nature, and that which creates it all. Call it God, the Divine, Brahma, infinite mind, whatever. The one Source.
There is so much to be thankful for it should bring us to a state of awe at the miraculous nature of the manifestations of our life experiences.
I am in awe.
Kristin Strachan Compassionbuddha.net