Sarvam annam – Everything is food. We feed not only on food, but on all sound and visual vibrations, all kinds of impressions: architectural proportions, union of forms and colours, harmonies and rhythms of music and ideas with which we come in contact. All this, absorbed mechanically and without real attention throughout the day, has made up our being and continues to do so. – Ancient Hindu text
Stumbled upon this and just had to share – an article entitled, “Feasting on Beauty”, written by Sister Chris Koellhoffer, of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Below is an excerpt, please click on the link at the end to read more at the IHM site.
For many years, I rode the PATH train back and forth between Jersey City, NJ, and Greenwich Village, NY, where I worked. Since most of the ride was underground, in darkness, in the bowels of a tunnel running underneath the Hudson River, there were no distractions, nothing to see. That barren landscape was reflected in the often vacant and weary expressions of my fellow commuters, who day after day got on the PATH, went to work, got on the PATH, went home. Monday to Friday, then repeat.
But in the month of December, all of that changed.
In December, as the train was rumbling along in utter darkness, we rounded a curve and came face to face with beauty. On the tunnel wall, track workers had fashioned and displayed a tiny Christmas tree, illumined so brightly that it pierced the darkness. Startled, we clapped and cheered and smiled and began talking to the strangers beside us. The whole mood of the train shifted. I suspect the crowd went home to their apartments and condos and houses as I did: carrying a more hopeful heart, grateful for the grace of that surprising blessing. In ways we couldn’t articulate, our spirits had been touched by an act both playful and profound, an unexpected gift from anonymous transit employees. Something in each of us had changed. In that moment, we had feasted on beauty.
Remembering that whimsical Christmas tree reminds me of the Sanskrit phrase, sarvam annam, translated “Everything is food. Every last thing.”
Everything we experience in life in some way enters into us. Beyond the food that nourishes our bodies and our physical well-being, what else have we invited into our everyday living? What else have we been feasting on, chewing, absorbing, digesting? How have we been attentive to feeding the life of the spirit, to savoring poetry, music, art, dance, delight, play, contemplation, stillness? Where have we let beauty in, and in what ways has it fed and transformed us and our world? And what connection exists between a steady diet of the beautiful and our desire and commitment to do justice and be people of peace?