The word “zen” carries with it the semantic import of “mindfulness”. Being mindful is something that we all can stand to employ more of in our world and our lives, and it is something that anyone can do. So, what exactly is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is the art of being present right now, other than in the other to ends of the space-time spectrum, otherwise known as the past and future. After all, what else is there? One can worry about the past and the future all they want, but they both are not HERE now, for NOW is here now. Thus, being mindful is the surrender of oneself to the now, and the wholehearted indulgence within its fruitful womb.
As a tribute to NOW, why not challenge yourself to be mindful at a time when all your mental faculties come together to impart upon the body the gift of nourishment – i.e. while cooking.
Cooking involves more than just putting ingredients together to produce a dish to be eaten. Below the surface, to get to the stage where a plate full of steaming food sits before an eater, it must be cooked, and it is in the process of cooking where the magic of the dish is birthed. To truly cook, one must smell the spices, the fragrance of the green onions radiating their aroma in hot oil. One must listen to the sound of the knife as it slices vegetables, making contact with the cutting board. One must FEEL when to add what ingredient, and when the dish is complete and ready for service. Try it with your next home cooked meal, and see how the experience will impact your eating experience as well. Notice the difference of just being with yourself as you take yourself on the journey of assorted raw ingredients, to sizzling lip-smacking goodness.
During mindfulness practice, it should naturally instill an air of calm throughout the muscles of the entire body. With mindful cooking, a dish made entirely of the freshest and most natural ingredients lends to the overall feeling of pleasure that mindfulness can bestow. One can smile inside because they know with this, they are treating their body with the respect that it deserves, as well as giving the senses an opus of real flavors and aromas to induce a neurological lotus blossom.
Feel free to share this post and the idea of mindful cooking (and mindfulness in general) with anyone that you know who may benefit from it, and in turn hopefully they will then pass it on.
Thus is the art of zen cooking… Of zen living