Cooking – for me is a ritual where I have the flexibility of creating something soulful using the ingredients I choose to add, and the quantity is always based on gut feel. Stirring, tasting, adding spices to perfection as I proceed. I look for the color, consistency, texture and aroma to make sure I have balanced the ingredients right. I could never go exactly by measurement cups, spoons and reading manuals to reproduce a recipe – for me it is a creation act and not a reproducing act (wonder why we call having babies an act of reproduction and not creation 🙂 ). Cooking needs my full-time involvement and when I am done cooking, I would have almost lost my appetite because of my overwhelmed senses. What I enjoy most then, is seeing my loved ones at the table relish it.
On the other hand, baking to me is more about following a plan meticulously – having the right measurements, right temperature, right time – and getting the expected results.
If I relate my life to cooking – I would love to stir, taste, add ingredients in the process of creating a unique flavour that is my life. Equally are people whose lives are planned with the right input in the right environment – giving the expected flavour and consistency in their lives. Either you cook or bake, depends on what you enjoy most.
One also has the option of getting fast food or frozen food. It demands less personal effort – but I would say that’s a life where we have agreed to loose control of what’s getting added into our lives.
We are all less significant in this world than we think we are. Life moves on, people move on with their lives. My most loved ones will move on with their lives and that is exactly how it ought to be. No one is indispensable. The concept of apocalypse and end of world theories are manifestation of the “fear of insignificance” of human life & existence. In the bigger cosmos we are just so significantly insignificant. This isn’t a negative thought – it’s the acceptance of the impermanence, and the beauty of impermanence.
What if the lily in my garden wilt away? The day of its bloom brought joy to my soul and I experienced its beauty every moment of its existence. Its fragrance swept into my room each day. But eventually it wilted and fell. Did I mourn forever? I waited for another bloom that recreated the whole experience all over again.
Everything moves on – and this realization makes it easier for me to let go and not getting stuck. So, then like the lily in my garden – I am here, I am now…putting my heart and soul to the “here and now”. When its time for me to move on – I need to whole heartedly let go.
Seventy percent of the world around us is made up of water and sixty percent of our body is water too. The water manifests itself in different forms – as freshness of the morning dew, as power of a mighty waterfall, as spirit of a traveller in the nomadic river, as stillness of the neighbourhood pond, as sorrow in the tear drops and as so much more.
Some of us choose to manifest like the waterfall – the powerful, aggressive, fearless ready to fall from heights, ready to hit against the rocky mountains. The higher the fall the greater is the majesty and beauty of the water fall. Her courage to “fall” from heights is her beauty and her source of power too.
Some are like the crystal clear creek – whose pace of flow is slow, but the sound of the flowing water is meditative. There is clarity, and the soul is reflective. The beauty of the creek is its soothing and calming effect.
Or we could opt to be like the nomadic river – unstuck with any place travelled and the people we meet, moving on sharing love all along, and finally reaching the all-encompassing ocean to be one with it.
I believe the most common way we manifest is like the stagnant pond – still, settled and stable – looks beautiful at the surface level with water lilies & lotus blooming. The water is not the clearest in the pond and it may never make the move to meet the all-encompassing ocean but it surely is a habitat in itself.
However we manifest, we are indeed a lot of water!!
I am a traveler walking the streets of an unknown neighborhood called life. Every person I meet is a window; some are so well guarded with barb wires and have painted their panes black to avoid any sort of intrusion. I avoid these windows and with the very natural instinct peep into the first transparent one. I see just mundane stuff, nothing exciting and I move on. From a distance I could see a beautiful scenery on the other side of the next window and I make a halt. I wait for a while and later realize that the scenery is a poster pasted on the window, truly disappointed I move on.
Now as I move, I have become slightly cautious. Here comes another window but I am a little reluctant this time as to avoid any disappointment. I figure out from a distance that there is some movement on the other side of the window which makes me feel that it’s going to be real this time. The view is breath taking and has filled me with joy. I look at it wonder struck for a long time and then realize I need to move on. Filled with the memories of the wonderful view I move on and as I move, I stop by a window which I had no intention to peep. I stop and to my sheer amazement, it just feels I see myself or rather am discovering myself the way I never did before.
Even though this isn’t the most wonderful sight, I am stuck and unable to move forward as – I am home!!
On my life journey I need to decide the road I want to take. I can choose to be on the highway for my one and only road trip, choose the lane and maintain my speed as everyone else on the lane. I need to be focused on my speed, directions and end destination. The scenes on the way pass by as I drive. There is something that catches my attention but I wouldn’t slow down. I keep moving. Now I see a crash but I still move on. I will be causing more trouble for the rest of the highway folks if I stop. The system would take care of crashes that I pay taxes to. Oops now I hit a rabbit that was trying to cross the road. Well the highways are not meant for these bunnies – I convince myself and keep moving. I am not alone on the road; well that’s what I think. There are lots of highway takers like me who enjoy the speed and the thrill of the drive. I know for sure that no ones going to stop or even slow down for anyone else.That’s the highway characteristics and I have signed up for it – move on & enjoy the adrenaline rush!
There is an alternate country road as well that I can take where the speed limits are low. I open my windows and feel the place around, catch glimpses of life. It’s a sunny day and I stop my car around the corner to walk over to a small town cafe. As I walk towards the cafe, a stranger standing by the pavement comes over and asks me for directions. To my surprise our destinations are similar. The conversation started over some crepe and coffee and ended up offering him a ride. We talked, we laughed as the good old country song was playing in the background. We stopped at places that caught our attention and took a ton of pictures. We did reach our destination but surely at our own pace. It was hard to say good bye to the once stranger I hardly knew.
A lifetime road trip – the country roads or the highway – its entirely up to us to choose.
The cultural camouflage is a “stay safe” strategy. One can blend in to be in the comfort zone of not being individually identified. The comfort brings with it the discomfort of losing one’s individual identity. The weaker ones in the social food chain use the camouflage for their survival. Move up higher in the chain, and the camouflage is used only to kill the prey.
I close my eyes and take a deep breath to fill myself with life. My inner most being alive, I am able to hear a feeble tune that prompts me to walk towards it. A tune that somehow resonates to the “me”. Not long have I moved towards the tune, I am already distracted. The distraction amplifies and I can’t hear the tune anymore.
Life moves at the speed of light and somehow we all tend to end up following the popular beat which might not resonate to our inner most being. If earnest to seek, one can still find the lost tune. Make an attempt, seek, and when found slowly start humming and moving to this distinct tune. The experience of resonance is magical.
This is my rhythm of life and I wish to sustain it!
I woke up to the quietness of the dawn,
Opened the window to see the crispness of my lawn.
Everything around me is still,
Took a deep breath, with freshness I fill.
The thin vapor of my inner being is awake,
I try touching it and it condenses into a little dew drop to take.
Let me kiss this sparkling pure drop, not long it would stay,
This “moment of being” might just evaporate in the heat of the day.
I conceptualize, visualize – I am already “there & then”. I just have to take everyone who are “here & now” to the “there and then”. My axis is here but the radius of my visualization makes me draw circles in time and space that’s yet to come. Is it a blessing or a curse? I am more in my visualized world of “there and then” and when the “there & then” turns to be “here and now” – I would have already moved on drawing conceptual circles beyond now!
(Dedicated to all the conceptualizers and visualizers – the small & big who keep inspiring everyone else around)
My son talks to me about different worlds. the Sponge Bob’s world, Nemo’s world and at times I see him talking to the miniature Lego buddies from the Lego land that he creates . He wants me to be part of these worlds as he juggles between these worlds. Is it childish or have we just lost the ability to juggle between many lives as part of our growing up. Growing up also meant honing the ability to focus on one’s own life and achieve. I remember during school days how I used to be lost while reading poems and stories – travel places while reading geography chapters and traveling back in time being part of the kingdom, fighting battles while reading my history lessons. I loved it all.
Work of art still lets me cross my boundaries experience other lives and perspectives. Such pieces of art are an ultimate experience and these artists are revered for their ability to get me out of my boundaries. When my heart aches at people’s sorrows, rejoices at their joy, frowns at injustices done to someone, I have then blurred my boundaries to live many lives making the experience called “my life” richer.
The generation that is so focused on “focus” and “achievement”, empathy might seem like the characteristic of the fools or rather too emotional to be uttered. The experience of leaving the boundary of the self and accompanying the emotional journeys of many … expanding the boundary (or when the boundaries are blurred) of the self and feeling the joy and pain of the whole universe should be beautiful because – then I am the universe and the universe is me!