Before I set up this month’s challenge, a brief word about the origin of this series. As I see it, the purpose of any spiritual practice is self-improvement. Moralistic practices seek this goal with proscriptions, a list of “thou-shalt-nots,” which, if followed closely, can be a guide for simple behavioral improvements.
Our faith is more subtle and complex, and we must look to the examples of our elders – the Gods and ancestors – as instructive. This “middle path” of right discernment is difficult, requiring constant analysis and self-critique. “Wotan expects me to man up,” as one phrasing has it.
Thus, the challenge to stay hungry. Certainly, a part of this idea is to stay hungry in the spiritual sense, to constantly read, learn, and grow in understanding and camaraderie, but the challenge this month is strictly in the mundane sense of physical hunger.
Most of us (not you, Witan Callahan!) could stand to lose a few pounds, and yes leaving some food on the plate occasionally can further that goal, but my intent here is not to encourage us to lose weight but to maintain more situational awareness. Satiety – that feeling of a full stomach that most of us carry all day every day– dulls the senses and general awareness. Yale University researchers found that mice that were induced to feel hunger not only had sharper physical senses but increased memory and learning capacity as well. Stay sharp; stay hungry.
Witan Allen Turnage