What happens when we put a forkful of something delicious in our mouths? When we declare, ‘this is divine’, do we simply mean that it tastes really good? The recipes in this blog undoubtedly do taste really good, but I’ve chosen to name it ‘Divine Vegan’ in order to reflect what I see as a special relationship with food.
What do I mean by ‘divine’? It’s not God, or Allah, or Krisna. It’s not nature, ‘the universe’ or ‘the good within me’. Or rather it is not just one of these things. It’s all of them, and much, much more. I believe you connect with the divine at any time that you break away from the mundane treadmill of life. It’s when you let go of the conviction that you are an isolated individual to whom things ‘just happen’. It’s when you let go of the belief that you will be made happy or sad by external factors in your life.
I believe that you access the divine when you become still; when you allow yourself to feel the energy that is you (or God, Mother Nature or the universe, depending on your point of view). Experiencing the divine is not the work of a lifetime. You don’t have to go and sit on a mountain top and meditate for years. It is as simple as plugging a light into a power socket. Whenever you create a deeper connection with what is meaningful (to you), what is awesome (to you), what makes you stand still and say ‘wow’ – you connect with and become the divine.
Food as spiritual practice
Some people see food as base, material, part of the physical world. They think that really spiritual people can’t care about food, that in order to become more enlightened, more divine, it is necessary to be pure, ascetic, self-denying.
Many others don’t really think about the spirit at all. Their connection with food may be simply about fulfilling a need for energy, or they may eat food primarily for enjoyment, or they may have a problematic relationship with food which causes them to over- or under-eat.
We all need to eat. We need food to stay alive and be productive. I believe that we can combine this physical need with a spiritual sensibility by cultivating a connection with our food that reflects:
- a compassionate understanding of the environmental issues associated with food
- loving respect for our bodies and our health
- the expression of love, nurture and community through the creation and sharing of food
- a deep appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of food (colour, shape, aroma, texture, flavour) and its effects on our minds and bodies.
Bringing heart into the kitchen
How often do we rush home, realise that everyone is starving, grab something out of the fridge and quickly throw a meal together, with little thought of nutritional or aesthetic value, and very little joy in the process? How often do we cook or eat under stressful conditions? What effect do you think this has on our digestion, absorption and assimilation of food, both on a physical and an energetic level?
I love ‘slow food’. This means slowing down the whole process of production, purchase, planning, preparation and consumption of food.
Choosing food grown with care and love by farmers using traditional methods, people who choose varieties of crops for their flavour, texture, colour and uniqueness, not just for maximum yield.
Wandering around the farmers’ market, talking to the growers, picking up the vegetables and fruits – looking, smelling, tasting…
Planning beautiful meals, looking through recipes, creating unique dishes based on what’s in the fridge, considering nutritional balance, aesthetic qualities, texture, colour, flavour…
Cooking! Music, apron, delicious ingredients, take your time and pour in the love…
Eating! Light a candle, join with friends or family, appreciate the food, thank the cook, savour the moment…