Daily Tao / 277 – Whole


I hate the way this chicken comes
All bagged in plastic
Without head or feet;
Neck, heart, liver, and gizzard
Stuck into its cavity.
No wonder people feel unconnected.

Traditional people like to see the whole animal when they shop for their meals. In cultures where personal contacts are more meaningful and closeness to the earth is a way of life, it is no surprise that people are interested in a complete relationship to their food. They buy it or raise it, they harvest it, they clean it, and they cook it — all before they eat it in gratitude. They don’t become sentimental over their food — practicality is to understand that we kill to survive — but they do give thanks for what has died to sustain them.

Today we have a very incomplete relationship to our food. We don’t see where something grows, we eat foods out of season, we buy prepared foods made by someone we don’t even know. There is a great power in knowing your food, knowing where it came from, preparing it with your own hands. This food, whether vegetable or animal, died for us. The least we can do is partake of it thoroughly and with respect.

Nowadays it is quite common for people to feel isolated. They lament not having friends, not having genuine experiences, not having a sense of who they are. If even the food that we eat and the way that we eat is lacking in wholeness, then how will we feel completion in the rest of our lives?