Somebody recently asked me why I continue to write in this blog? How many different connections can one possibly make between food and spirituality? I just smiled and said the connections are endless. They challenged me to make a connection between food addictions and spirituality. As I have a few (olives, pot stickers, sashimi, anything spicy, and seafood), I found this interesting. Just about everyone I know has a food they crave. Recently I saw an article that talked about how fast foods activate similar parts of the brain as drugs. I can say, at least for me, that my addiction to my foods of choice is not about the food. It is about me. There are things about those foods in which I find comfort and a kind of satisfaction that I do not get from other foods, especially at certain times in the semester (grading frenzy), or around the holidays. When somebody offers me the opportunity to eat any one of the three things listed above, my mouth begins to salivate. Even writing about them, I find myself thinking about Guy Fieri when he talks about how the jets in his mouth are turning on while he watches one of the guests on his show cook one of their signature dishes.
Given my abandonment of free will, I could eat these daily. I have come to the realization that doing so diminishes the level of enjoyment I have when those specific items do cross my lips and get to interact with my taste buds. I can drink water all the time and it tastes ok, however, on those hot summer days when I am parched and thirsty, a simple glass of cold water can feel more amazing then a five star meal. It is in those moments when I know I have just encountered the Ultimate.
It is in those moments, I have learned that salivation is not the same as what some might call salvation. The fulfillment I experience when I have had one of those spiritual encounters in my life is not the same as the experience I have during my daily rituals. Some of my most powerful spiritual experiences have come when I am not even trying. Having a spiritual experience is not complex. For me, everything I eat or drink brings me in touch with the Infinite. I need food and water to survive. The same Source that created my spirit created my food. The fulfillment and joy I experience is about my experiencing the Infinite. It is the water and fruit of life which was created to help sustain me and to enable me to continue to be of service.
Whether or not a food gives me the same level of enjoyment as my foods of choice, they are all gifts from the Infinite. I like some foods more than others; however, I am mindful that they are all gifts of creation. So whether I like a food or not, I treat it with the same respect I treat people regardless of how much I like them. Whether I like a dish someone has made for me or not, I try to treat that person and their creation with respect. I may choose not to eat it, or eat it very much of it, but I will not disrespect it or the person who makes it. Perhaps that is why I find myself sending love to those I watch on television disrespecting food and calling it unworthy or of lower quality. While it may be easier to work with some unprocessed foods then those which have already been processed, they are still foods and worthy of being honored and respected. Like people, we are all worthy of dignity and respect.