Do you say a prayer before a meal? Before every meal? Just dinner? Just holidays? Do you give thanks, ask for blessings, recite something?
I don't, usually, though I keep meaning to do so. So let me say belatedly I give thanks to the universe for the other night's Ben & Jerry's Jimmy Fallon's Late Night Snack, featuring vanilla bean ice cream with swirls of caramel and chocolate-covered bits of potato chip. Yummy thanks.
I didn't need to eat ice cream, of course, though I could make an argument to the contrary. [Note to self: Have students practice persuasive writing by arguing in favor of--or against, if fools they be-- eating ice cream.] But eating it made me happy, and I am thankful.
But there is another reason, in addition to expressing gratitude, for saying words over a meal and that is to bless the food itself. In other words, ritual prayer is meant to fill food and drink with blessings --with grace--which one then imbibes. Such a ritual, as it turns out, may be more than superstition or symbol, especially when it comes to drinking water.
You see, according to the researh of Dr. Masuru Emoto, water can be affected on the molecular level by intentions and vibrations, including music and written messages. In 1999 Emoto published the first of several volumes of a work titled Messages from Water, essays and photographs of frozen water crystals that were imbued with 'words of intent'. Photgraphs of crystals of water containing a message of the symbol for the chi of love, for example, are beautifully symmetrical, while crystals from water containing words of hatred and anger are chaotic and unappealling.
Emoto's work was featured in the new-age documentary "What The Bleep Do We Know!?" He has been criticized for profiting from sales of water products purporting to contain healing properties, but his ideas and work remain compelling. After the recent tsunami and nuclear power disaster in Japan, Dr. Emoto began a world-wide positive intention campaign (seen on Facebook) for the waters of the Fukushima Daiichi plant. As I like to say, it can't hurt.
Sending focused positive energy to others certainly does good for the sender. We do reap what we sow. So I will send some good thoughts to the oceans, rivers and containers of water in the world, as well as to my next glass of water, and I will drink with gratitude.
PS: I figured out how to embed links. :-)