The Power of Mindful Practices to Heal Our Food Cravings
In Art of the Inner Meal, former Buddhist monk Donald Altman celebrates the sacred side of eating by exploring the role of food in different religious traditions from around the world. Hindu concepts of food enhance our awareness of the cycle of life, and help us to break our own unhealthy eating habits. The Buddhist approach liberates consciousness through eating in moderation, with compassion and loving-kindness. Jewish tradition focuses on making each meal holy and wholesome. For Christians, meals are a time to strengthen community and enhance communion. Islam’s blend of peace and faith provides insight, knowledge, and experience about our inner personal meal.
Eating with awareness brings us into the moment, helping us understand what it means to be alive and connecting us to the mystery and source of all living things. Directing attention to how we choose, prepare, and eat our food can offer satisfaction and gratify more than our physical need for sustenance.
Art of the Inner Meal explores the joys of giving and receiving, the art of fasting, the reasons why the wisdom traditions recommend some foods while prohibiting others, and how awareness of what we consume can affect the environment. Many of the world’s religions value the simple act of eating as a powerful means of self-discovery and spiritual transcendence.
By understanding the spiritual meaning of food for cultures around the world and creating new rituals and traditions for our own families, we can strengthen family bonds, encourage love, and deepen our connection to the community. “Whatever your religious affiliation, background, or tradition, you have a unique opportunity to create a personalized inner meal path,” says Altman.