Breaking the Bread

Good Morning to you All

In these months of the Covid pandemic and lockdown, Google searches for the word “bread” have been at an all-time high. It seems that when so many things, from socializing to schooling have shifted online — baking bread: transforming flour, water, salt and air into a beautiful loaf of bread coming out of the oven – and eating it, has been nourishing us and nurturing us on an unprecedented scale in these modern times. Baking bread is an interesting symbol for mindfulness … going inward; taking one’s mind off
the chaos of the external world. And breaking bread – sharing bread or a meal together – a symbol of connection and relationships.

Bread is a core metaphor for every religion. In Christianity, it is found in the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread” – a prayer for actual and spiritual food. Bread is a gift from God: when Moses fed his people in the desert with manna which fell from heaven; and during the last supper, when bread symbolised the body of Christ, which became the Eucharist or Holy Communion celebrated at Mass. I listened to an interview with Peter Reinhart – a renowned baker, theologian and author, speaking about the symbolism of bread. He talked about his “aha” moment when he
discovered that the Latin root of the word “religion” is “religio”, meaning “to be connected to”.

Breaking bread is the essence of all religions – a connection to something greater than oneself. I read this somewhere else – and it really resonated with me. That modern society has rendered us more and more alone and separate from one another. We have been stuck in
systems that don’t work for us — of ecological degradation, the concentration of wealth, depression, suicide, addiction – and we haven’t known how to change. Covid has gifted us a reset. A fundamental question it raises is this: Self-preservation or generosity? Shall we live to preserve ourselves? But, says this author – as are many, many others saying in different ways of this time: This is a time of Reunion – where every act of compassion, kindness, courage or generosity heals us from the story of separation, because it assures us, both actor and witness, that we are in this together. Which brings me to baking and breaking bread: In South Africa, and throughout the world, ordinary people have grouped together to form feeding schemes and food kitchens, or are contributing to existing projects that feed the poor and the hungry. This pandemic has called forth a phenomenal generosity of spirit and care. Through the chaos and isolation, we have chosen to create community and relationship. To break bread together.

In the USA, a World Bread Heroes Award was launched to recognize and celebrate the generosity of “bread heroes’” – “those in the baking community who have stepped up during these challenging times”. They will be recognised their impact on community, their reach, their innovation and care for the well-being of others. Murshid once said about his lectures: “Very often people coming to hear me say afterwards,
“Yes, all you say is interesting, very beautiful, and I wish too that the world was changed.
But how many think like you? How can you do it? How can it be done?
They come with that pessimistic remark, and I tell them: ”One person comes into a country with a little cold or influenza and it spreads. I such a bad thing can spread, can not an elevated thought of love, kindness and goodwill towards all me spread? See then that there are finer germs, germs of goodwill, of love, kindness, and feeling, germs of brotherhood of
the desire for spiritual evolution, which can have greater results than the other ones. If we all hold that optimistic view, if we all work in our little way, we can accomplish a great deal”. Caroline Myss, pioneer of energy healing, medical intuitive and author, says of this time:
“… the dark forces (of anger, anxiety, fear) are contagions that spread as fast as the virus.

But we don’t often think about how being happy for someone or celebrating their joy is also a contagion…. inspiring someone is a contagion, spreading grace is a contagion. Generating hope and optimism is also a contagion. Love is a contagion. So if negativity spreads like fire,
so do the higher graces. “I will remind you”, she says “that these higher graces also operate on the laws of the Universe –on magnetic attraction, on cause and effect – on those higher frequencies that in fact generate the very consequences we are looking for in inspiration, the kind of support
and healing and light we need around us now – that is exactly what we need to get through these surreal times.” So we are being guided to be aware of the paths we are choosing: and maybe its not all or nothing — fear – or love. Maybe it’s just the next step into love, into treasuring another life,
and trusting that with each step, the next step will become visible. By feeding the hungry, by being my brother’s keeper, I can transform the narrative of separation – me separate from you; humans separate from nature. Now our every act of kindness, compassion, courage and generosity heals us from the story of separation. We shine the light of awareness on
our shared essence and we discover love – the Love that never dies. End.

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