I was struggling yesterday. Hit a creative wall, where even though I had all the ideas, I just couldn’t seem to move in any specific direction. I know that for sure, I’m in need of a change in scenery, which I’ll be getting soon. But for last night, in the middle of feeling stuck, I closed down my computer and did what I knew would work. I needed to meditate.
I’m not going to suggest here that cooking is the only form of meditation. What I know about meditation is that its any act that not only brings you into the absolute present, but also is designed to clear the mind, kind of like a broom sweeping away the debris in order for the good stuff to move in.
This is a super simplified take on meditation, but you get the picture. For me, what took me into the kitchen last night was the need to be involved in singular activity. I was alone, had some simple ingredients, my creativity wanted to play and cooking gave me a palette of smells, colors, textures and tastes to play with. There was no pressure, no bottom line, no larger business plan to take into account.
It was relaxing, silent and rhythmic. I got a chance to dive deep into the simple tasks of boiling water, sprinkling salt in, washing basil leaves, tearing fresh juicy mozzarella balls apart with my fingers, and chopping garlic. My mind had nothing to do other then the steps needed to make this happen. And in the end, there was the impulse to explore the beauty in colors contrasting each other on a plate when placed in specific places.
I’m mentioned here before that cooking is a sacred alchemy, where we imbue our food with the intention we have for the meal as we make it. But sometimes, all that is needed is the desire to be present with the sensual pleasure of just making a lovely plate of food. I was devoid of any future thoughts with regards to the table and the place settings, or writing down the exact measurements of what I used for this dish. It was just me, my ingredients and the aromas rising and mingling around me.
In that kitchen, I not only created something, but I gave my mind a rest from its frustrated place, and made room for pleasure, simplicity and movement. It was truly my juiciest hour of the day and a reminder that the act of cooking itself, can be a doorway into a holy stillness that nourishes the soul.
I’m so grateful.
For all you foodies out there who would love to know what was in this dish, here is the list with no measurements or instructions! Sometimes its good to just play and not know where you are going.
Basil tomato sauce in a bottle
Fresh basil leaves
Raw pine nuts
Do you meditate? Have you ever used the act of cooking to do so? If not, what do you think? I would love to hear your experiences and thoughts on this.