Good morning! It’s a good day to be grateful. By now I suspect more and more of you are remembering to use that woozy period between wake and sleep to steer through the fog towards optimism and positivity.
Practicing that into a habit is easily worth the effort. Setting an intention is possibly the single most useful, productive and straightforward thing we can do to improve our lives.
The other major thing we can do is translate that intention into focusing our attention on what we’re grateful for rather than what we’re missing. And a lot of those things are right in front of us.
One of humanity’s most important achievements has been to find ways to grow enough food for eight billion people. It’s staggering if we really stop to think about it.
Almost none of us in the G20 world grow our own food. Even if we’re one of the rare people who does, most of those people would only be growing a very small proportion of their yearly eating.
Think about that. Our bodies are literally made out of the food we eat. This food all these other people ensure we get. Without them, our body stops working.
During our lifetime, no matter how we eat, (carnivore, omnivore, vegetarian or vegan), all of us are surviving thanks to food created and harvested and marketed and shipped and processed and delivered and sold by tens or hundreds of thousands of other people we will generally will never meet.
Today, the average lunch likely has thousands (if not tens of thousands) of people involved in creating, inspecting distributing, and selling the various ingredients needed for that one meal.
If there’s a chef, or if the food is processed, there ill be suppliers and workers. Plus the people that maintain the machinery of production and transport. In truth, many of us wouldn’t eat if there weren’t mechanics on all of the ships and trains and trucks that get our food to us.
In every meal there will likely be numerous farmers required. Each who will have depended on agronomists, suppliers, storage facilities, trains, trucks, maybe even planes. Even for something simple, like apples; they had to be grafted, grown, harvested, inspected, shipped, cleaned, bagged, re- inspected, and sold. Dozens to hundreds or thousands of people would need to be involved.
Three or four generations ago, even in the richest countries in the world faced food shortages on a routine basis. The fact is that me, nor most of the people reading this, will never go hungry in our lives. That is a testament to the fact that this is something to be truly grateful for.
As today’s meditation, rather than let your ego walk and talk you absently through your day, every time you eat or drink anything, meditate on each ingredient.
Maybe even research where your pickle, or your mayonnaise, or your spices are likely to have come from, considering where you live. The UN FAO has a great online tool for researching that.
In addition to knowing where it’s from, think about all of the labour, time, effort and intelligence that was required just for us to eat just that one meal. And that entire worldwide system that has almost any food at hand, was thought up, built, and is managed without us really noticing.
If that system stopped, most of us would be in very serious trouble in days. So since we’d all notice these food worker’s absence very quickly and dramatically, it makes sense the subject deserves our focus and intention now.
Any lack of appreciation on our part wouldn’t be because the food isn’t one of the most important things in the world to us. It would only be because we hadn’t exercised our ability to fully appreciate.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.