I hope everyone has had a blessed day today, regardless of what religious traditions you might follow. The day had the unusual distinction of being shared both by Christians for Easter and, I’ve learned, by some Buddhists (in Japan, for instance) for remembering the birthday of Siddhartha Gotama.
Obviously, pretty much our whole family celebrates Easter and I have the highest respect for that, so I was involved with some of the activities both at their church and afterward. It has been a really fun day, although I’ll admit to having over-indulged quite heavily on food (I’ll touch on that in a bit).
First thing we did this morning was an Easter egg hunt throughout the house. 24 pop-open eggs were hidden about, from inside the coffee maker to on the tops of light fixtures, each with a couple pieces of candy in them for our son. It was, as in prior years, quite amusing to watch him go into hysterics as he found them laying about. One was even placed directly in front of my Buddha statue at my desk, which he thought was particularly hilarious.
After that, Michelle decided she would bake breakfast. While that was delayed by an unexpected, but brief, power outage (poor animals keep interfering with the local electrical infrastructure), we did enjoy a new recipe of muffin that involved jelly filling. My wife has a knack of finding new, fun recipe ideas from time to time, so we’ve been trying new stuff on a nearly daily basis lately.
So then, we all went to church. There was a big breakfast going on there, and then an Easter egg hunt (that’s two egg hunts now, for anyone keeping score). I was there for a little over an hour, mingling with family and churchgoers, eating, and watching the children search for eggs. Dalton managed to find the infamous “Golden Egg,” which in previous years had been trumped up as a very big deal, causing much fuss among the younger children. This year, we were led to believe that there wasn’t going to be a golden egg at all, but someone always finds a way of getting it into the hunt again. Fortunately, it not having been mentioned, it was not the source of any suffering for the children this year (to my knowledge, anyway).
After the egg hunt, I returned home while the rest of the family remained for worship services so that I could have some quiet time. I did some reading, then, while I wouldn’t necessarily call it meditating, I had the opportunity to sit in my new quiet spot (the driveway) and observe my thoughts a little. Then we were off to visit with the family at Michelle’s Aunt Betty’s house, where, of course, a third egg hunt was conducted.
Of course, like many family holiday gatherings, food was involved. From about 2PM to about 5PM, the family had Easter dinner, which, quite frankly, was lunch and dinner simultaneously. Oh, and dessert, lets not forget that. Overall, thinking back on the experience, I’m pretty confident I ate about two days worth of food in a three-hour “sitting.”
Actually, the overeating is really a good example of how something that is a sensual pleasure, in this case food, can really be suffering. I spent the first hour after I got home feeling like I was going to be ill! It is actually quite amusing, in a way, that we know that eating too much will do this to us, but somehow we get tricked by the aromas and flavors into doing it again and again. I’ve done pretty well over the last six or seven months, controlling such gluttony in my regular eating, but holiday events always seem to bring out the “fat man” in me.
I think my goal in the future will be to think a little more about the activity of eating, in the case of family celebrations, and to be more heedful of the volume of food I’m physically capable of consuming in relation to the amount I really should be consuming. Eating like I did today isn’t just enough to make me feel bad inside, or make me really overweight again if done repeatedly, but is wasteful, disrespectful, and certainly without mindfulness.
But, all told, it really has been a great day. While I am taking a bit of a down message on the mental and spiritual factors relating to eating, the fact that I’m thinking about it at all is probably positive, and it has been a really good experience as for interaction with the family.
I hope today has been wonderful for you and that you are well, friends.