If I am to enter into the fullness of eucharist, I must understand that , just as with my physical body, so with my spiritual body, different food feeds different parts of my being.

Paul wrote,

“you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit” (Romans 8:9).

Being “in the flesh” has nothing to do with the physical body. Paul is outlining two modes of being. To live “in the flesh” is to live a life dominated by my small self. To live “in the Spirit” is to live in tune with the greater self that is the presence of Christ at the heart of my being.

So much of life offers opportunities to feed my smaller self. When I exert my will, determined to get my way and force my agenda upon life, I feed my small self. When I behave in ways that are reactive, overly dramatic, compulsive, addictive, and driven, I am feeding the force that brings death.

Every moment of my day confronts me with endless opportunities to choose between my smaller or my larger self. I can retreat into that tight airless little place where I am determined to get my way and to impose my will upon the universe. Or, I can choose to shift into that large open spacious place in which my true self shapes my choices and guides my actions.

My larger self does not demand, grasp, clutch, or cling to only one way of proceeding. My larger self finds room for everyone without needing to judge or exclude simply because I may be uncomfortable. When I am living from my larger self, I am much less the victim of my personal likes and dislikes. Life is just what is happening now. My larger self has no need to create a grand story around the circumstances of my life as they are unfolding.

In the eucharist I enter into the larger story of Jesus which is the story that leads to life. I walk with Jesus on the way of the cross, surrendering at the table my determination that life should unfold as I have determined. Having been fed I leave the Lord’s Table with a renewed contact with the steady strong and noble self that is my true identity. Having been welcomed at the Table, I no longer have anything to prove. I have laid down my need to get my way or impose my will upon the circumstances of my life.

In the eucharist I choose to feed my larger self. I feast on the bread of love and drink the wine of self-sacrifice. I commit myself to a life of surrender by which I am drawn more deeply into my true self and find freedom from the nagging uneasy voice of my smaller self.

It is no mistake that the eucharist is a physical action involving my body. By being aware of my body I discern whether I am living from my small or my larger self. When my body is tight, tense, agitated, and frenetic, it is an indication that I am living from my small self. When my conversation is speedy, aggressive, and the tone of my voice is clipped and sharp, my small self is probably shaping my words.

My larger self is experienced as a relaxed, warm, gentle presence. When I am living from my larger self, I breathe more easily, my shoulders relax, I can feel the weight of my body on the ground. I am steady and calm.

Having been fed with true food at the Lord’s Table we are free to live in the fullness of that reality that is our true nature in Christ. Eucharist feeds us with the bread of freedom and nourishes us with the wine of true life.