Lest when thou hast eaten and art full, and hast built goodly houses, and dwelt therein; And when thy herds and thy flocks multiply, and thy silver and thy gold is multiplied, and all that thou hast is multiplied; Then thine heart be lifted up, and thou forget the Lord thy God . . . [Deuteronomy 8:12-14]
Dining with God
Dining with God offers guidance on eating, nutrition and health based on the sacred texts of the world’s major religions. Food and nutrition may appear to be mundane topics, but they contain profound theological and metaphysical implications while demanding very pragmatic consideration.
When we write about dining with God, we are often referring to spiritual food. This encompasses whatever thoughts, words or deeds enhance spiritual development. It embraces a lifestyle whose primary purpose is the glorification of and service to God.
For the bread of God is that which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. [John 6:33]
Spiritual faith is an essential ingredient in formulating the wholesome development of a human being. The world’s great religions all point to a transcendent reality, a world beyond our range of human experience or understanding, higher and more pleasing than our current state. Being aware and conscious of this reality offers what some would call elevated states of being: sacred wisdom.
Guard against physical unruliness. Be restrained in body. Abandoning physical wrong doing, lead a life of physical well doing. Guard against mental unruliness. Be restrained in mind. Abandoning mental wrong doing, lead a life of mental well doing. [Dhammapada 18:231-232].
The significance of faith to our physiological and psychological states often brings us into potential confrontation with secular principles of science and current academic conventions. Our effort in such cases is to avoid polemics. We try to reconcile conflicting viewpoints, when possible, and seek to substantiate and authenticate our statements, using scientific, as well as scriptural references.
The power of the mind may not be unlimited, but nor is it negligible. As we have seen, some medical conditions are susceptible to a direct effect of the mind on the immune system, as when a placebo causes a belief to emerge which then suppresses the acute phase response . . . The mind fights disease in many ways, and the most important of all these is still by prompting us to take the right action. [Dylan Evans, Placebo: Mind over Matter in Modern Medicine, p. 204]
Religion and Science
The schism between religion and science is discussed from the perspective that both have valid claims to their hegemony. Neither science nor modernity is the bad guy. No anti-science or anti-technology sentiment is intended, though the importance of faith and spirituality is constantly affirmed
My conclusion is that both our research and amazing new scientific technology are continually adding exciting new evidence that our Great Creator God has equipped us with marvelous mechanisms by which, through faith in him, our spiritual beliefs and behaviors can actually help heal us. [Harold G. Koenig, M.D., The Healing Connection, p. 160].
Warnings against consumerism are not meant to advocate a particular economic theory or political ideology. No hostility toward the profit motive, commercial enterprises or prosperity is espoused. On the contrary, we seek to transcend material doctrines and sublimate secular perspectives, thereby hoping to enhance personal and community fulfillment.
Through the purifying burning fire of tapas [exercises of discipline] all the sense organs of the body are perfected (kayendriya-siddhir) by the destruction (ksayat) of all impurities (asuddhi). [Patanjali, Yoga Sutras, II 43].
These daily devotions are nonsectarian. They do not propagate a particular religion nor try to make anyone a vegetarian, eat kosher food, fast Ramadan or observe Lent.
O YOU who have attained to faith! Fasting is ordained for you as it was ordained for those before you, so that you might remain conscious of God: [fasting] during a certain number of days. [Quran 2:183-4].
Further, while acknowledging the therapeutic benefits of spiritual development, we are not advocating a dietary regimen designed to help readers lose weight or look better.
Our sincere hope is that these daily devotions help you to:
- Remember God more regularly
- Be more concerned with your soul and less with your body
- Be more familiar with the great spiritual teachers of the world
- Be more familiar with the great sacred texts of the world
- Become more compassionate and occupied in doing good works
- Pray more often
- Patiently persevere in serving God
- Be better able to submit your will and desires to God
- Be more aware of the secular influences inhibiting remembrance of God
- Have greater trust in God