Thursday, September 29, 2022
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Feed Individuals – Lions Roar

Lucas Matthew Oswalt displays on the idea of “fullness,” each bodily and spiritually, whereas feeding his two-month-old son.

Picture by Brooke Lark.

Our two-month-old son Matthew goes by a development spurt. He eats and eats and eats — then he rests, and he eats some extra.

When he’s hungry, he’ll let . Generally with a whimper, and typically with a bang.

The opposite evening at about 10 pm I used to be sitting with him on the sofa, feeding him with a bottle. He had introduced his starvation — loudly — after taking part in Harry Houdini in his bassinet and escaping from his swaddle. I felt sympathetic; after I get up hungry, I’m a groggy, grumpy particular person. The final particular person on this planet I’d begrudge is a tiny child who solely has one technique of speaking his important wants, and that’s by crying.

I had been attempting to fold some laundry, pay the mobile phone invoice on-line, get some dishes put away, and usually be productive. However I needed to cease — after which for about quarter-hour we sat, and he fed. And although by a lot of the day I used to be energetic and frantically attempting to get stuff finished and examine issues off the record, it was good to cease. And simply sit. And watch him eat.

Largely, it was good to really feel “full” when he felt full. He had a starvation, however I too have a starvation to be an excellent father.

Just about each nation, tradition, household, non secular or religious custom has particular behaviors and attitudes round starvation and meals. There are guidelines, customs, rituals, and preferences. Consuming is, after all, one of many best frequent denominators throughout humanity. All of us must do it, and in the event you skip it for too lengthy, you’ll remorse it.

There’s an early Buddhist scripture about starvation and satiation: all of us want edible nutriment, however we additionally “feed” our senses, our volition, and our consciousness. Ramadan invitations a time of fasting, to nourish the seeker’s soul, not simply their bodily physique — and ends with Eid al-Fitr, a “celebration,” “pageant,” or “feast” finalizing the fasting month. Jesus had a Final Supper, and the Eucharist represents a memorial motion to recollect, in physique and spirit, the importance of his instructing. And in considered one of my favourite tales, Krishna Das, the American-born singer of devotional Indian chant music, requested his instructor Neem Karoli Baba one thing to the impact of: How do you attain the supreme? How do you meet God?

Because the story goes, a part of his instructor’s pithy reply was: Feed individuals.

This one act, so on a regular basis and humdrum, is what retains the entire wheel spinning, no matter what anybody would possibly imagine or doubt. And regardless of all efforts to make it fancy, costly, and complex, it’s an exceedingly easy phenomenon that we’ve spun into untold complexity.

“Just a few years in the past, I requested some youngsters, ‘What’s the function of consuming breakfast?’” Thich Nhat Hanh as soon as instructed an interviewer. “One boy replied, ‘To get power for the day.’ One other stated, ‘The aim of consuming breakfast is to eat breakfast.’ I believe the second youngster is extra appropriate.”

So, easy.

However there’s complexity, too: Anybody morsel of meals, any drop of milk Matthew receives, incorporates the whole lot within the universe. Think about a bit of bread, Thich Nhat Hanh asks of us:

“The wheat discipline wants clouds and sunshine. So on this slice of bread there may be sunshine, there may be the cloud, there may be the labor of the farmer, the enjoyment of getting flour, and the ability of the baker after which — miraculously! — there may be the bread. The entire cosmos has come collectively in order that this piece of bread could be in your hand. You don’t have to do a variety of arduous work to get this perception. You solely have to cease letting your thoughts carry you away with worrying, considering, and planning.”

So when Matthew is hungry, Matthew feeds. It’s easy and black-and-white. No laundry, no dishes, no on-line invoice paying, no late evening work. Every little thing blessedly grinds to a halt and we feed him, and he eats.

No “productiveness.” No “busy-ness.”

And he will get full. And I really feel full. Two cravings are sated – his for edible nutriment, and mine for my want to be an excellent and loving father.

For fifteen minutes, we’re doing a very powerful work there may be proper now.

And the dishes can wait. The worrying, the considering, the planning – all of it can wait.

We now have an appointment with life within the right here and within the now. It’s all we’ve bought, and it’s all we have to fill our bellies.

This text was initially printed on Lucas Matthew Oswalt’s web site, Dharma of Dad.


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