Thursday, September 04, 2014
As his zen koan sunk in...
"If you are given a mango. just eat it and enjoy the taste. Don't bother about the size of the tree or how many years it took to grow - otherwise you will miss the taste, the essence of mango-ness!"
While holding a glass of cool water - and then sipping it - my friend told me how much he LOVED that glass of water. He went on to describe it, noting that there are so many times in his life when a nice glass of cold water is the most refreshing drink he could have. Better than iced tea, he said, better than coffee - better than a beer!
And I just continued to stare at him wondering what point he was attempting to make with his zen koan.
When one is longing for a nice, tall glass of iced tea, however, that cold glass of water falls a little short.
I spend too much time wondering why my glass of water isn't a Red Bull or Diet Coke. I can down a mango while wishing the whole entire time that I was eating a plum or a Granny Smith apple.
Someone told me recently that she attended a conference where the speaker described relationships as a big bowl of spaghetti - with meatballs. The speaker went into detail about the nice, added extras that meatballs provide - and how meatballs are a must for the Italian dish. The meatballs complete the recipe, she told me exasperated. "It wasn't until then that I realized that I didn't have a single meatball in my spaghetti," she said dismayed.
In almost every area - or at least too many areas - I am thirsty or hungry for something more, wanting the extraordinary - the very best, the brightest, the most meaningful, the greatest love, the preeminent experience in every way. I forget that plain and simple water has its place - and in fact, water is good - IN FACT, a glass of water truly might be the best, given the situation! A good plate of spaghetti without the meatballs can be delicious - especially if one is a vegetarian! I should try to eat a Northern Spy instead of a Granny Smith!
"Stop expecting that this glass of water is going to be Guarana Antarctica (my favorite soft drink!)," my friend admonished me while taking another sip of the contents of his glass. "That person is a glass of water - nothing more. Let them be water. Enjoy the water! They CAN'T BE Guarana Antarctica!"
I sat and stared while his zen koan sunk in.
Can I accept the provision of water when my heart desires something with a little more carbonation? Why do I consistently reach over the nectarines to gather the best purple plums? How would my life change if I simply accepted what unfolds before me - if I simply explored new tastes and textures and smells with appreciation for the provision and diversity. In this moment, when I think I NEED a Diet Coke, perhaps I can walk a shorter distance and fill my cup with icy water.
And perhaps I can intentionally enjoy the water - appreciate the water for all that it brings instead of longing for something more.