Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nourishing our relationship with the Divine

In my last post I Ching – nourishing the superior we talked about nourishing the body and the mind as extolled by the I Ching in two related hexagrams. So I was not at all surprised when I read the following paragraph from Rabbi Orlitzky’s Life’s Daily Blessings:

Savoring food

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, at whose word all things come into being. General blessing for food

This is the blessing to be used “when in doubt”, or when food doesn’t fit into any category of traditional foods. It recognizes God as the source of all. While we usually think of prayer or ritual – or even the study of sacred texts – as vehicles to be used to bring us into relationship with the Divine, this blessing clearly demonstrates how food can bring us closer to God. Just by uttering this simple phrase, we acknowledge God’s role in the world and in our lives.

Everything we receive in this world is a gift. Even our bodies. Even the air we breathe. Someone said everything we receive in this world comes from other people. That is mostly true, but other people come from God, so even their gifts originate in God. We rarely stop to think about this, so saying ritual blessings for what we receive, as in the Jewish tradition, seems to me a good way to remind ourselves to be grateful.

Rabbi Orlitzky goes on (italics mine):

So if you are about to eat something, especially if you are not sure which blessing might apply or you are not sure of the nature of the food you are about to eat (for example, did it come from a tree or grow on the ground?), don’t rush through the blessing in order to get to the food. Savor its words, just as you might the food you are about to eat. Both have the potential to nourish and sustain you.

So here again we have the advice we encountered in the I Ching : our task is to nourish the body and the mind and to savor both without seeking to rush things. This is how to have the right attitude in life and the right relationship to the Divine. The rain will fall when it is ready, and when it does, we too will be ready.

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Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond