Thursday, March 28, 2013

Eating Alone

Along with some friends, I share a meal with the Abbot of a Buddhist Monastery in South Korea

Because of my schedule, there are many occasions in which I find myself eating alone - it's one of my least favorite times. When I eat alone I feel so isolated, especially of I am eating in a restaurant and other people are all around me at other tables sharing meals together. 

As I reflect on it, the act of sharing a meal does far more than meet some bodily requirement. When we eat together, we tap into a deeper reality. We human beings may think of ourselves as independent from one another, but as the Trappist monk Thomas Merton once said, the idea of being separate from one another is an "illusion," and a myth. We are all connected to one another. In fact, we are one another.

The Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh, put it this way, "You are me, and I am you, isn't it obvious that we inter-are?"

As I see it, eating together helps me to tap into the reality that we all are one another.

All the great religions of the world celebrate feasts and festivals with meals.  

Tonight the Jewish People continue to celebrate Passover by sitting down together at a table and once again eating the Passover meal. 

Tonight Christians throughout the world gather together to celebrate Christ's Last Supper. They will share bread and wine in memory of Jesus at this sacred meal, and enter into a "holy communion" with Christ and with one another. 

Eating together is the way in which we human beings enter into a deeper awareness that we "inter-are."

So whether you eat the Passover meal, share the bread and wine of the Eucharist at church,  or simply sit at a meal with friends or family this day,  let today be a day of "holy communion." 

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