hunger

What would life on earth look like if there was not hunger? If there was not this gnawing-in-our-gut drive that compels us to find food. Perhaps then the lion could lie down with the lamb, as the prophet dreamt, but the reality here is that we must eat in order to survive, demanding of us participation in these endless cycles of life-death-life.

I wonder if the same holds true for our spiritual lives, if they too can never be fully and finally satisfied, if our recurrent hungers are simply an essential component of life here on earth.  If so, that makes me wonder why? What deeper purpose does this hunger serve? 

There are those who claim that the human predicament of hunger- that something must die in order for us to live- is at the root of all religious impulse.  We long to make sense of it, for there to be some meaning in it that redeems the suffering.

There is the Ideal of growth. That we are here to grow in Love has been a deep hope that has rooted me here for some time. In this world of separate beings, each encounter and experience that challenges me to receive something ‘other’ into my body, or into my heart, encourages and enables me to grow.  

Our physical growth eventually subsists. Yet, our hunger persists, intimating that we need food not simply for growth, but for maintenance too, for regeneration and repair, for fuel. Is that also why these spiritual hungers never cease? To keep us from stagnancy and decay (or in that cycle of life does that decay then serve to feed the hunger?)

I search and search for that which will satisfy at last, but perhaps that is a vain attempt, an erroneous way to measure my maturity, an elusive and unattainable goal I use to shame myself, to judge myself as broken or unworthy.  What if the alternative to hunger, even spiritual hunger, is death? ­Could it be, conversely to what I have been led to believe, that when I am NOT hungry I am merely dead inside?  

Perhaps it is time to redeem my hunger. Bless it. Re-member that it is vital to being human. Let it remind me that I am blissfully alive.

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