How Should We Say Grace? Or Should We?

Today I want to talk about a topic that I need your help with. It has some personal connection to my life, and something that also has a philosophical component to it. And that topic is connected with… “saying grace”.

First, let me set up the background for you. My wife suggested that we start emulating and modeling behavior for our son, who is now approaching 2 years old. And in that charter, she suggested that as one of the behaviors we model, we pause before meals to “say grace” or offer a blessing of some sort.

So… as the officially ordained member of the family, I was asked to say something last night at that moment of thanks, pre-mastication. So in my ‘when-two-masters-meet-along-a-path-not-a-word-is-spoken’ nature… we all held hands, and here’s what I said: “Thank you.”

And that was it. “Thank you.” And then I picked up my fork.

Now… as you can probably guess… because we are now talking about it in this post… that execution of ‘grace’ didn’t exactly seem to satisfy my wife’s requirements.

Okay, so… here’s the thing… and here’s why I only said “Thank you.” Having stumbled upon enlightenment previously, my understanding of God is that God is a portion of our very existence, and that we are all One in Spirit, to include the entire expanse of the universe. And because there is nothing that is not God, and because we are all inclusive of the same individual spiritual intelligent existence that makes up everything, and there’s no separation between us and God… when we open our mouths to say grace or give a blessing, who the f*** are we supposed to be talking to?

I mean… what outside of us are we addressing when we say grace or say ANYTHING when we are in prayer? And when we stop to take the action to say something to an entity that is seemingly outside our individual existence, are we not creating separation in our minds that does not exist in reality?  When I say something to someone (I never talk to myself like others may), I’m doing so because that mind is not connected to my mind, which is why I must convey the thought to them.  But that’s not the case with God.

So are we speaking to an entity that exists outside ourselves? Absolutely not. So why say anything at all when we pray?

Because… if you think about it… in actuality, prayer is was originally designed to be a SILENT activity… not designed to speak TO God, but to take time to LISTEN FOR God… so as to become enlightened.

And so… even if you are speaking out to… wherever… to satisfy those illusions of separation that may exist in someone else’s mind who may be sitting at the table… is THAT action not also leading those folks down the wrong path in supporting that there is some sort of separation from God that must be reached through outwardly speaking to God in giving thanks for the food?

And from my son’s point of view, when Daddy speaks to God in giving thanks for the food, is that not CREATING a separation for him in his mind, thereby starting him down the wrong road?

I mean… I’m all for modeling behavior for my son… but I don’t want to model the WRONG behavior.

So here’s where we’re at: I don’t have the answer for this one. I’m certainly thankful for the wonderful sanctuary called Earth in the suburbs of the Milky Way that shouldn’t have the ability to promote life the way it does… and I’m thankful for everything else in my life personally… the hot showers down my back… the way a strawberry explodes with flavor in my mouth when I chomp down on it… the companionship and love of my wife and son… ALL OF IT.  And in fact at meal times, sometimes the whole meal for me is a meditative “thanks” session as I eat.  And I like it when my whole day goes by that way.  But what do I SAY OUTWARDLY to model the good behavior of being thankful without speaking outward to a God that would seemingly then be separate from us (which is not the case)?

Your thoughts?

 

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  1. My father’s side of the family is mainly atheist yet when I was a child we still said grace and it went like this: “Bless this food, The earth that gave it to us, the people who brought it to us, all of us and all of ours”

    So the thinking was even though we are an atheist family (I am not but they are) is the following:

    Bless the food (giving thanks for the life that had to be given up so that ours could continue)

    The earth that gave it to us (giving thanks to the earth that sustains our physical existence and that of the food we are about to consume)

    the people who brought it to us ( giving thanks to those who hunted or grew the food since in our modern society we do not have to live off the land someone else can do that for us this is also a way of thanking the cook)

    All of us and all of ours (giving thanks to everyone at the table and being able to share in the experience with them)

    Obviously feel free to do what you like but since you wanted thoughts how about being grateful for the process in which the food gets to your plate outwardly?

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