I had long grown tired of our family’s rapid-fire “prayer” before meals — Bless us o Lord, for these thy givvs ich eee mumble, mumble, mumble…Amen! dig in!
Doubtfully, those rashly recited words without any feeling or thought behind them constituted an actual “blessing,” especially when it was commenced with fast eating, little to no discussion, or worse, bickering.
I was thrilled, then, when I recently found the following Eating Meditation from the Deer Park Monastery website. You can read the whole meditation from the link, but here are the five contemplations we now say before meals:
This food is a gift of the earth, the sky, numerous living beings and much hard work.
May we eat with mindfulness and gratitude so as to be worthy to receive it.
May we recognize and transform our unwholesome mental formations, especially our greed, and learn to eat with moderation.
May we keep our compassion alive by eating in such a way that we reduce the suffering of living beings, preserve our planet and reverse the process of global warming.
We accept this food so that we may nurture our brotherhood and sisterhood, strengthen our sangha and nourish our ideal of serving all beings.
Sangha means community so I just substitute “family” to keep it simple. I love this prayer/blessing/meditation, whatever you want to call it, and I do believe it has helped us be more contemplative. Now, if I can just learn to love preparing those meals!