Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Body and spirit

In my life as a Christian, people outside of my religious paradigm have sometimes given me the most profound lessons and gifts about living the principles of my religious belief. I still smile with gratitude when I think of an online Wiccan friend who reminded me of the love and forgiveness God/dess has for me in a way that reached through one of my depressions when it seemed nothing else could. Last night, as I was reading, I got another one of those lessons from the Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, in his book, Living Buddha, Living Christ.

As other areas of my life seem exceptionally complicated now, I've been obsessed with an area in which I feel some control, my diet. Despite truly needing to lose weight, my thought processes have borne every hallmark of eating disorders, and I will not swap healthy changes in my body for unhealthy changes in my mind. It doesn't matter what you weigh if your mind has become a minefield in which you can find no peace. Most of my life has been lived more strongly in the mental, emotional and spiritual aspects rather than the physical, so putting so much emphasis on my body, my food and the changes in both has taken some focus away from the other areas. I have felt the effects of the lack of attention they have been given. So, when I read this meditation, I felt like I'd been given a map through the mines and reassured of my ability to safely dislodge and rid myself of them.

"Breathing in, I am aware of my heart.
Breathing out, I smile to my heart.
I vow to to eat, drink and work in ways
that preserve my health and well being."

That's really what it's all about. I started dieting to regain my health when my heart finally said it was working way too hard. It was only one way I was seeking to improve my life, but it just happens to be the one in which I'm finding greater success right now.

Later on in the book I found this, and well, it's going on my fridge.

"This food is the gift of the whole universe -- the earth, the sky and much hard work. May we live in a way that is worthy of this food. May we transform our unskillful states of mind, especially that of greed. May we eat only foods that nourish and prevent illness. May we accept this food for the realization of the way of understanding and love."

This next part tied it all together for me:

"We drink and eat all the time, but we usually ingest only our ideas, projects, worries and anxiety. We do not really eat our bread or drink our beverage. If we allow ourselves to touch our bread deeply, we become reborn, because our bread is life itself. Eating it deeply, we touch the sun, the clouds, the earth and everything in the cosmos. We touch life, and we touch the Kingdom of God."

He added, "When I asked Cardinal Jean Danielou if the Eucharist can be described in this way, he said yes."

Reading it again, I got those chills once more. I feel like I've been anchored again to the vital connection with the Holy Spirit that truly sustains me, in a way that has real, present and practical meaning in my everday life. The trinity of my body, mind and spirit have consciously returned to The Trinity.

I love the lessons that I have learned within the boundaries of Christianity, but when I receive something like this from someone outside of my own religion, I feel particularly blessed. I'm reminded that The Creator surpasses the limitations of human understanding and that Divine grace is for everyone.



Blogger Katherine E. said...

Oh yes, I love this. Such a wonderful reminder for me that our God is beyond any system of thought, of which Christianty is only one. Thank you.

July 31, 2007 3:53 PM  

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