Blessed Are Ye That Hunger

In the Bible, Jesus says, "Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled." (Luke 6:21) In The Yoga of Jesus, the yoga master Paramahansa Yogananda elucidates this passage saying "Blessed are you who thirst for wisdom and who esteem virtue and righteousness as the real food to appease your inner hunger, for you shall have that lasting happiness brought only by adhering to divine ideals - unparalleled satisfaction of heart and soul." 


What does it mean to thirst for wisdom? Wikipedia says, “Wisdom is associated with attributes such as unbiased judgment, compassion, experiential self-knowledge, self-transcendence and non-attachment, and virtues such as ethics and benevolence.” These are tall orders to be thirsting for! 


We are all thirsting for and hungry for something. Everyone has deep seated hunger and feelings of emptiness and lack. We try to fill this hunger by satisfying our desires and sense pleasures. We eat and drink, watch TV, spend money, try to find fulfillment in work, play, and relationships, and scroll on and on and on all to feed this hunger. However, we can never fill the hunger inside us by satisfying our desires for sense pleasures: tasting, touching, seeing, smelling, and hearing.


The great sages of all religions tell us that the deep seated hunger that every person feels is actually the soul's desire for God. To appease this hunger, we actually have to turn our hunger around from fulfilling the desires of the senses to going within. Jesus did say to seek the kingdom of God within. This can be practiced in big and small ways.


Practices such as prayer, meditation, mindful movement, scriptural study, present moment awareness, rosary, affirmation, or mantra repetitions, gratitude practice, formal worship, and contemplation can all be forms of going within. These are ways that our hunger can be satiated.


But what about all of the desires? Desires can start to be turned around and managed with awareness of our tendencies and a plan!


Examples of Awareness + Plan: 

- I want to eat a mostly nutritious diet, but I crave sweets (desire). So, I mostly pass on the processed and artificial sugar and reach for the fresh fruits instead.

- I want to be fit, but I can’t be bothered to exercise (desire). So, I commit to a daily brisk walk by no later than 6pm.

- I want to feel attractive, but I dislike parts of my body (desire). So I train myself to love my body the way that it is right now. Ten years later, I may wish I still looked like this!

- I want to have good health, but I am still holding on to resentments from the past (desire) which makes me susceptible to illness. So, I practice forgiveness and positive affirmations and achieve a healthy foundation.

- I want the good opinion of others (desire) which may cause me to over-commit. So, I make self-care a priority. Then I am improving my relationship with my numero uno.


By taking care of ourselves and making time to turn within, we make peace with our inner hunger. Our hunger becomes a torch light to show us the way home. 


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