Some of us grew up blessing food with our families and some not so much. We have those traditions around Thanksgiving when thanks and blessings are often shared even if we don’t do so at other meals. I took it upon myself a few years ago to begin blessing or praying over my food after hearing some of Yogi Bhajan’s lectures on the topic. He talks about it being a matter of consciousness and many other things. As a Reiki practitioner I was also encouraged to “Reiki” my food by giving it a short Reiki treatment. For me the challenge was breaking a habit of diving right into a meal and remembering to stop and bless the food. It was easier to bless the cat’s meals than my own for a long time. Now Siri Deva and I do it together and we remind each other to keep going.
So why do we bless our food? One of the basic reasons is that blessing the food aligns it better with our bodies and digests easier. It also tastes better. Blessing food or praying over the food can also help in adding healing energy to our food. Developing gratitude for what we are blessed with also helps us develop a more positive mind set.
I was always somewhat skeptical of information that claimed that food was somehow different after blessing. It seemed ludicrous that a few words could make a big difference. I paid some attention to this as our path has taken us into different experiences. It seems whenever we eat food at restaurants it doesn’t really agree with us that well. Now of course there is a question as to the cleanliness of the cooking areas and so on, but the experience is fairly consistent. It also seems that when we eat with friends and bless the food together, it agrees much better with our stomachs.
Our regular attendance at Gurdwara (Sikh services) and yoga festivals has also given me something to think about. When attending Gurdwara the communal meal eaten after services (lungar) is blessed during the service. I began to notice that this was food I normally would not eat at home and it should not agree with me, but it seemed to do alright. If I take the food outside of the Gurdwara (left overs), their flavor changes and I have a much harder time eating the food. I thought perhaps this was just a fluke.
At our wedding in December family and friends came to the Kundalini Yoga Winter Solstice celebration with us. I was curious to see what their take on the food would be as many were still meat eaters and the entire meal was vegetarian and/or vegan. We have some die hard critics of vegetarian food among our friends. It was amazing to see friends raving about a simple bean and veggie salad that I thought was fairly mediocre. One friend, a trained meat-loving chef, in our midst even commented that he would pay for such a meal! It was interesting to see the effects folks were experiencing from the meal. It confirmed to me that it was the blessing and chanting that went on during and after meal preparation that really created this amazing flavor experience.
One Yogi Bhajan lecture we recently watched was about how the body also accepts or rejects the food we eat. When we allow the body to relax from spiritual activities (such as yoga, meditation and chanting) that switch us over to the parasympathetic nervous system, we are better able to digest and integrate the nutrients in our food. When we are in a situation that tenses us and activates our sympathetic nervous system, the body avoids digesting the food because it is focused more “important” functions related to the fight or flight mechanism. Blessing the food is one way to help our bodies to pause and take time to switch gears between activity and relaxation that promotes digestion. Our minds also align with gratitude and positivity, allowing the body to relax more fully. In our hectic world it’s easy to get involved in eating on the run, but it may not be surprising to see that the body is unable to properly digest and integrate the nutrition from that food.
On a vibratory level blessing food alone will help it align to our own body. Blessing food in a group of family or friends will amplify the benefits. When we chant or sing uplifting mantras or songs we are effectively changing the vibration of our bodies and the food. The human body is made of approximately 70-80% water and water is affected by sound vibration (see here for an example). When we help the water in our food an bodies to vibrate at the same level they align more closely and “recognize” each other allowing digestion to become easier.
There are many blessings, mantras and prayers that can be said over our food. For us, we chant or listen to mantra while cooking and before the meal chant a simple long Sat Nam three times. I like to silently include my own prayer of gratitude for the Earth and for the people who helped to make the meal possible and a little Reiki on some occasions.
Good luck on your journey with meal blessing and may those meals be blessed and bring you good health and joy.
Let us know your experiences below!