A recipe by Erin Geesaman Rabke
Space in your heart-mind
Several excellent questions and insights
The heat of your affection
And unhurried time.
First, find the big stock pot or cauldron that lives in your imagination. Make sure it’s not over-full with exhausting information you do not need to know. Wash it out, rinse it, dry it, and then…
Add this fresh question from Zen teacher Scott Morrison:
Do I wish to live this moment with as much attention, care and affection as possible or am I going to do something else? (Note: There’s no point in judging the something else as good or bad – it’s just good to know who’s making the decision.)
Heat that pot gently with the warmth of your affection for life. You may need to blow on the embers to really get the heat going. Don’t give up. The fire can be kindled. Once that first question is sizzling, stir in Michael Meade’s life-reflection question:
Did you become yourself?
When those two questions soften together, after a few minutes, gently stir in this question:
What do I need to do to deepen my self respect?
Add in a reminder of the world’s problems mixed with what’s weighing heavy on your heart. (Just the right amount of bitter flavor brings out the complexity in a delicious way.)
Add water to cover.
As you stir in the water, remind yourself of this wisdom from the Tao te Ching: Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water. Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible, nothing can surpass it.
When you start to recognize the scent of your own curiosity, grounded and engaged, gently add this directive from the late, great Barry Lopez: “We must invent overnight, figuratively speaking, another kind of civilization, one more cognizant of limits, less greedy, more compassionate, less bigoted, more inclusive, less exploitive.”
Notice creative ideas and inspiration rising in the steam. Breathe it in deeply.
Bring to a simmer.
Simmering can happen as you walk, as you sit in your favorite chair, or even in the shower.
Simmer for a good long while.
When the time feels right, add this ingredient from Kathleen Dean Moore: It doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s generous to life, imagine it into existence.
Once that has dissolved into the savory broth, take a pinch of impermanence and sprinkle over the top. Remind yourself that all of this – the beauty, the beings, the pains-in-the-ass, will not last. Who knows how long you have left in this body, on this earth? Notice how that recognition changes the flavor of everything. More vibrant, brighter even. This is good.
Then season to taste with Mary’s Oliver’s salt which she labels as the
“only one question:”
How to love this world?
Salt makes things tasty and this one won’t raise your blood pressure. Be generous.
And if you like spice, add a pinch of this inquiry from Desmond Tutu: Free yourself. Free others. Serve everyday.
Top with a generous drizzle of this extra virgin inquiry:
How can I make this whole endeavor less effortful and more pleasurable? Even beautiful?
Then grate over the top this reminder from Thinley Norbu:
Serious mind is always exhausted.
Play mind always has energy.
Serve it up.
Sip this stew regularly. Chew on it daily. Share it with those you love. It’s revolutionary, liberatory, deeply nutritious, and anti-inflammatory. If you make it with love, it’s bound to be delicious and with a unique flavor only you could create.
The world is challenging and overwhelming.
The world is also beautiful and full of possibility.
Are we screwed?
Or perhaps we are being called to root deeper into what matters.
Or are we just too tired to bother?
Maybe try sipping this soul soup for a few days and let me know how you like it, how it nourishes you.