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Lions Roar : March 2010
SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2010 38 At A weeklong meditAtion session one year, i think it was 1968, my teacher suzuki Roshi lectured about how to prac- tice Zen. “Zen,” he said, “is feeling your way along in the dark. You might think it would be better to have more light, to know where you are going, and to get there in a hurry, but Zen is feeling your way along in the dark. then you are careful and sensitive to what is happening.” later i asked him (young man that i was), “Hmm, feeling my way along in the dark... now that the program is over, what if we have a party?” “if you do it with that spirit, it will be perfectly okay,” he said. “wonderful,” i thought, and started to get up from kneeling in front of him, when his voice brought my movement to an abrupt halt. “The most important point is... ” and he paused, while i prompted myself to listen intently as the words slowly came out, “is to find out... what is... the most important point.” And i thought he was going to tell me! only he had—and years later i continue to investigate this. one of the places where i have studied this is in the kitchen. when we’re cooking, what is the most Mindful cooking is not detached or subdued, says Edward Espe Brown. It’s cooking with your whole being engaged—mind, body, and emotions. And remember, it’s better when you’re feeling your way in the dark and asking what is the most important point. Let Your Passion Cook Mindful living in the kitchen pHotobYdAvescHoenwAld important point? As a meditator there are many ready-made answers: being mindful, being silent, watching your mind, being calm and peaceful. All well and good. but did anyone say, preparing food? or, feeling your way along in the dark? we do well to study how we do what we are doing, and ask our- selves, What is the most important point? “be mindful in the kitchen while you work,” people often say. perhaps useful, but unfortunately the word is overused, and often inaccurately. when people do not pick up after themselves, they are not being mindful. when they are gossiping while cooking, that’s not mindful. in other words, when someone is not doing what they should, they are not being mindful. so be mindful becomes do it right, the way you are supposed to. i’m not sure, but i think that being mindful is to experience your experience without judging good or bad, right or wrong. being mindful in this fash- ion, you might notice dishes, crumbs, or scraps on what was formerly a clean surface—and this could be followed by choosing how to respond. say- ing that the people who left those items were not mindful is another way of saying they are bad, that