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Posted By Luminous Jewel, Blake Walton

A Meaning from the Season

 

Sugar Shack

Steaming Sugar Shack, Westhampton, MA

 

Here it comes -- the moral of the story. Or maybe more aptly, the morale of the story, the story being life. I've had plenty of time to think about this, huddled under my electric blanket this winter/spring in a too-cold 1800's New England parsonage, "heated" with heating oil (gasp! might as well heat with gold). I read somewhere that we humans are hard-wired to try and make meaning where there may or may not be any, possibly just to cheer ouselves up so we can keep going in a world that doesn't seem to have sense or make sense much of the time.

So, here is what I've come up with:

1) As I mentioned before, we could all benefit from the advice to SLOW DOWN & PAY ATTENTION. Basic mindfulness goes a long way towards relieving dukka, that niggling sense of the basic unsatisfactoriness of life. We can't  totally avoid pain and suffering in our lives (the Buddha's first Noble Truth) but oh do we try! Speed, multi-tasking, endless distractions, sleep, TV, consuming, etc., etc. You can start to increase your mindfulness with pleasure (it's easier than staying with pain!) -- savor the sugar shack breakfast below.

 

Before

Aaahh! Traditional New England sugar shack breakfast

 

2) You may notice through your salivation and deep sense of satisfaction, that there are "empty calories" , "bad" foods, and "excessive" carbs and calories on the plate, not to mention the non-ecological disposable plates and plastic utensils. You can chose to let your labels and judgements poison your experience. Of course, no one in their right mind could justify making a daily habit of such fare.  But if you think of it as a rite of spring in the manner of a tantric Buddhist ritual of the acceptance of all manifestations of life, it's true and deeper meaning can resonate. Life is made up of the "good", the "bad", the "ugly"-- it just is what it is. We suffer less mentally and emotionally when we realize and accept this fact. I say this blessing before meals to remind myself:

I receive this sustenance gratefully, appreciating all the forms of life that have offered themselves for my benefit.

 

 

After

Savoring the what is-- not full plate, not empty plate

 

3) to be continued . . .