Have you been able to stick to a strict regimen of three meals a day? Sure you say, but are you honest about it? Tell the truth, maybe you cheated once in a while; a mid-morning treat, mid-afternoon or maybe a late night snack? I could never just have three meals a day without snacks. Maybe you have stronger will power than I if you never eat in-between meals. Some nutrition experts claim six small snacks or “grazing” is the best way to maintain blood sugar levels. I am not a diabetic or a nutrition expert but snacks work for me.
I am quite content if I have a mid-afternoon snack and evening snack. By snack I mean fruits, a nut mixture, cheese, tea in the afternoon but desert has always been my downfall. I rarely miss desert, my evening snack. Though preparing food are among my favorite topics of discussion I want to shift toward something of even greater significance; spiritual food and nourishment. I have a notion that eating six small meals is like spiritual snacking only it is for the soul and has eternal value. What is good for the body may also be good for the soul. Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Indigenous Religions, in fact, all religions though differences among them are many recommend in some cases demand practices or spiritual nourishment that lead towards transcending ego/self-orientation leading to spiritual fitness. Meditation, prayer, chants, reading or reciting sacred text, community meals, storytelling/sharing, kind acts, alms giving, community work, are just a few honored practices common to nearly all faith traditions.
By meal time we are usually ready to eat. Often we have a distinct sense of hunger. Does our spirit like our body have hunger pangs? If so, what does it feel like? I propose that meal preparation and eating resembles preparation and consumption of spiritual nutrition. Our bodies would suffer if we waited to feast once a week. Similarly, saving ourselves for a once a week “worship” and fellowship starves the spirit. Over the years I have come to recognize that my spirit requires “small meals”, little practices, such as prayers, meditation, daily readings, and some form of humble submission to God’s will. Over the years I’ve learned to recognize sings of spiritual hunger. I began to cultivate spirit fitness. Regular spiritual exercises build spiritual fitness. Reading and meditating are very important practices for me. I am currently reading Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence, by Sarah Young,a God filled daily reading feeds my soul. For many years my husband and I have been reading Swedenborg’s Arcana Coelestia (Secrets of Heaven). . I continue to read Near Death Experience (NDE) studies. My current book, Near-Death Experiences: The Rest of The Story: What They Teach Us About Living and Dying and Our True Purpose, by P.M.H. Atwater, deals with every aspect of the near-death phenomenon: from first-hand accounts of survivors experiencing flash forwards, waking up in morgues, and developing psychic abilities, to stunning cases of groups experiencing NDEs together. Of most interest to me are Atwater’s analyses of the physiological and spiritual changes that result from near-death experiences. I am fascinated by Atwater startling connections between the NDE experience and what is often called “enlightenment.” Studying NDEs convinces me that nurturing spirit is as important as feeding the body.
I invite you to post comments about your spiritual practices. Circle Community begins weekly meetings exploring and practicing spiritual fitness and supporting each other along life’s journey.