The verses chanted before meals at Zen temples include a section called the Five Reflections. The first Reflection is, “We reflect on the effort that brought us this food and consider how it comes to us.” Performing this reflection is itself a complete practice.
When I reflected on the effort that resulted in the food on my table I thought of:
- migrant workers in Florida fields
- corn grown in Iowa and potatoes in Idaho
- a forest in France where a farmer and a pig search for a truffle
- soy beans and failed GMO labeling legislation
- dairy cows not fed growth hormones
- earth worms making compost into soil at Green Gulch Farm
- bees on the roof of San Francisco Zen Center
Food offers us many opportunities for discernment. And humility. And awe. Today I give thanks for the vast field of interconnectedness that is life.