The Blessing of Food: The Mystical Meaning
The Blessing of Food is one of our many spiritual responsibilities, especially if we want to solidify the sense of interconnectedness with All THAT IS.
Food is one of the most important factors for our continued existence and survival on this planet. It is not unrealistic to regard food as an important material Blessing. In India, the term "Prasad" means blessings and at the same time also it means food.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama once spoke about the interconnection of all beings and the impact that a single life can effect in all the world. In his speech, he said that even a life of someone living in a very remote side of the world with no access to the internet or a good way of global communication is capable of touching and impacting 10,000 lives, just by their living presence on this planet.
When we speak about the Blessing of food, we are not only talking about the food in itself but also about the blessing of the many invisible hands that made possible to bring the food to your table: from the ones that tendered for the seeds to the ones that help you pack your groceries at a supermarket. In one way, these hands make it possible for you to enjoy the physical and spiritual nourishment of the food. Blessing their energy and will to perform tasks in order to satisfy your need of nourishment is a mystical reward in their lives.
Whenever is possible, one should perform the Blessing of food. Before every meal, give thanks to God for the chance to have food and you think of all those who do not have the privilege to satiate their hunger at this time.
A Blessing is a circle of light drawn around a person to protect, heal and strengthen. ~John O'Donohue
If you are alone, place your hands above the food, with the palms facing down, and then, mentally or aloud, say the following symbolic invocation:
" I Bless this Food so it may be purified and magnetized by the vibrations emanating from my heart and passing through my hands so that it meets the needs of my body and my soul. May all those who hunger be partaking with me this meal as I offer participation upon its spiritual benefits.
I give thanks for the blessings of this food as a symbol of my gratitude for all the manifold blessings of this life." ~ Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Soyen Shaku, the first Zen Buddhist teacher to come to America, said once: "My heart burns like fire, but my eyes are as cold as dead ashes." He made the following rules which he practiced every day of his life.
In the morning before dressing, light incense and meditate.
Retire at a regular hour.
Bless and Partake of food at regular intervals.
Eat with moderation and never to the point of satisfaction.
Receive a guest with the same attitude you have when alone.
When alone, maintain the same attitude you have in receiving guests.
Watch what you say, and whatever you say, practice it.
When an opportunity comes do not let it pass you by, yet always think twice before acting.
Do not regret the past. Look to the future. Have the fearless attitude of a hero and the loving heart of a child.
Upon retiring, sleep as if you had entered your last sleep.
Upon awakening, leave your bed behind you instantly as if you had cast away a pair of old shoes
A Hindu Blessing
This ritual is one.
"The food is one. We who offer the food are one. The fire of hunger is also one. All action is one. We who understand this are one." -birdwatcher
Zen Parable Source: Zen Flesh, Zen Bones.