Friday, February 9, 2018

Dear Universe: A Mealtime Blessing

(This is cross-posted from Medium, where it's better formatted)
For most of my life, I was wary of religious rituals. I was never able to summon up belief in a deity or deities, and I assumed that if deities weren’t real (at least in my mind), then rituals must be false as well.
I’ve grown up a bit and come to realize that religious rituals are often about more than just professing belief in a particular deity. Many of them also help us humans foster feelings of positivity and community, plus provide avenues for introspection.
I’m now comfortable bringing rituals back into my life, and figuring out how to adapt rituals to my particular beliefs and values.
My favorite daily ritual is the mealtime blessing. I start each blessing with “Dear Universe…” and then continue on to give thanks and recognize the interdependence in our lives.
For example:
“Dear Universe: Thank you for these yummy looking veggies that will give us energy today. Thank you to the farmers who grew and picked them. May all the beings today find the energy to go about their day in the world. Amen.”
Or, on a weekend:
“Dear Universe: Thank you for this bright and sunny day. We’re grateful that we have the time to walk outside and enjoy it. May all the people and cats and other beings enjoy a bit of rest on this Sunday. Amen.”
It’s nice to start off each meal with a gratitude practice, to skew our minds towards the positive as we go into eating and conversing.
I’ll admit, I was pretty self-conscious about saying mealtime blessings at first — and I’m still nervous saying them in front of friends that are new to the tradition. But it gets easier over time, and it’s worth the cheek-blushing. 😊
Here’s a little bonus variation for the improv’ers out there: now that its a regular habit with my partner, we sometimes come up with the blessing together — either by alternating lines or even by attempting to say the same words together.
The mealtime blessing is a simple ritual, but so very helpful. Try it out for yourself and see how it feels for you.
I wish you all well in the quest to cultivate a life of positivity and meaning.
Thank you to Jacob Lyles for starting the mealtime blessing tradition, and to BeAndBeWell for inspiring it.

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