We Should Know How it Comes to Us

Jiko McIntosh, my sangha sister, reminded us in a lovely precept talk on Chaste Conduct about these words in our food prayer: “72 Labors Brought us this food.  We should know how it comes to us.” She was speaking of the bodily instinct to eat, sometimes ferociously. She reminded us of salt, sugar, tea, spices, coffee, all of the staple foods historically brought to us through global power abuses.

I brought attention to Chaste Conduct while eating lunch today. I shut my bloody laptop and ate. Even so, my mind drifted off this way and that. But I’d come back to my rice, parsley, garlic and to my fork. Jiko’s talk reminded me, yet again, of how much there is in a single moment, and how I can forget this, instead hoarding stimulation -email, food, plans, internal dialogues. This attention to my food brought me to that delicious space of not hoarding. How much there is: this head cold, this anticipation of the general assembly in Amherst tonight, this fall day.

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