Once we acknowledge our sustenance as divine energy, we give ourselves an opportunity to engage in a new relationship with food.
On a physical level, Ayurveda recognizes that food is necessary not only to sustain life but also to maintain an optimal quality of life so that we can perform our dharma, our life’s purpose. Ayurveda recognizes food as energy—not just fuel, mind you, but as an expression of divine Consciousness, the living power of creation. In other words, food does not only come from God; food is the energy of God. Food is part of God. This understanding of the true nature of food and all creation is articulated in every mystical spiritual tradition. As my friend Rabbi Raachel Jurovics says, “It’s all Godstuff.”
Once we acknowledge our sustenance as divine energy, we give ourselves an opportunity to engage in a new relationship with food. Rather than seeing it as a mere object in our lives, we see food as a form of God, as Consciousness itself. Recognizing this truth intellectually and knowing it experientially are, of course, two different things. But even the most elementary understanding adds a deeper level of meaning to the exclamation, “This food is divine!”
Let me tell you a story: When the title Sacred & Delicious came to me, I loved the sound of it, loved the feeling it gave me. Even so, I couldn’t have explained what it actually meant to me. For years I’d heard the statement “Food is sacred” without examining it. When this book title took form, a longing for insight into this seminal concept was kindled. “Delicious” I could grok, but what did it mean to say that food is sacred? I wasn’t going to be satisfied if I only pretended to know what it meant.
Over the next few years I prayed to understand the sacred nature of food. I prayed again and again—and again. One summer day when the question was far from my mind, an answer came.
I was working at home, and I stopped to prepare lunch for myself. There wasn’t much in the refrigerator, but I did find some fresh mesclun greens, a ripe avocado, and a couple of eggs I could hard-boil. I chopped a handful of walnuts. I assembled this salad on a dinner-sized plate, and whipped up an easy vinaigrette with olive oil and lime juice. I sat down at the table, and before I began to eat, I took a moment to become present. I closed my eyes to bless my food and offer gratitude for what promised to be a luscious meal.
As I opened my eyes, my head still bowed, I looked intently at the fresh greens, which contrasted so vividly with the white and gold of the egg and the pale gold of the nuts. In that moment my mundane perception shifted, and I felt a wave of pure bliss bubble up from the food before me. It was almost effervescent, like bubbles rising in a flute of champagne. It seemed as if the food itself was giggling with delight. Feeling this salad’s blissful energy as if it were my own, I laughed aloud and thanked the food for revealing its essence, its spark of divinity. For this, I knew, was what I’d perceived as this salad’s irrepressible joy—the bliss of Consciousness that exists in all of creation.
I continue to contemplate this remarkable experience. It seems to me that what occurred was a sublime exchange of energy. While I was blessing my lunch, the Consciousness of the food was sending waves of blessing right back to me.
Each time we eat something delicious, there is the potential for bliss to bubble up inside us. The moment we taste an exquisite soup—or, yes, a morsel of perfect dark chocolate—we can tap into a natural wellspring of inner joy so pure that, in truth, it is nothing less than the bliss of the Divine. We may think that the food gave us that joy, but, in fact, a more subtle and mystical process has occurred. As we eat, the inherent divinity of pure food pulsates with a scintillating energy that explodes and merges with our own true Self. In that moment, when the blessedness of the food meets the purity of an open heart, we experience the bliss that—as the ancient sages say—was there, inside us, all along.
Adapted excerpt from Sacred and Delicious by Lisa Joy Mitchell © Lisa Joy Mitchell by arrangement with She Writes Press.