I meditated for 30 minutes today and as usual my mind was very active, looping over frustrations and stresses but it didn’t last long. I found myself having a natural distance from these things. A quicker ability to observe these little ‘loops of thinking’ and accept them as part of the process.
There’s this expression in ‘Zen’, that really resonates with me and it’s something I talk about a bunch or at least think about a lot. It goes,
“When Buddha makes bread, he doesn’t try to make the most bread or the best bread, he simply tries to understand how flour becomes bread and to do that you must put yourself in the oven”.
I really like this expression for a bunch of different reasons but the most immediate (or perhaps obvious) one is that it tunes me internally, keeping me focused on what’s ultimately most important to me; asking questions and having fun!
In the past, I’ve tried to ‘make the most bread’ and it didn’t work for me. I would have 4 loafs of bread and think I was special or something. To ‘make the most’ bread is fundamentally based on ‘hierarchical thinking’ so I would think as if I was superior to the things around me in some way. Every thing is perceived in relation to ‘how much bread I’m making’ (lol). This is a state where I get further from my ‘curiosity’. I’m not asking interesting questions any more. I’m mostly just asking, “am I making the most bread?”. Then someone will show up with 5 loafs of bread (more than my 4) and of course now I lose all sense of purpose. My life no longer has any meaning. I was the dude making the most bread with my 4 loafs, but not who am I (lol)? Trying to make 6 loafs of bread is a pretty useless exercise since it’s gets you stuck in an infinite cycle of dissatisfaction. There’s always someone making more bread.
Trying to make the ‘best bread’ functions in a similar way except the experience can be even more unpleasant. When I try to make the best bread it puts me back into that ‘hierarchical thinking’. I have to judge everything around me to know if I am making the best bread or not. “Is that bread better than my bread?”. Then of course there’s those moments where we actually think we’re 'making the best bread'. It’s always fun being around people in ’that’ state (lol). I’ve definitely been there and I still fall into this stupid trap. It usually doesn’t last long though because ‘most’ people who are trying to make ’the best bread’ quickly find bread that’s better than theirs. Once we taste this ‘better bread’, we lose all sense of purpose again :( “I thought I was the kind of person who made the best bread, who am I now?”. Perhaps some people block this out. Perhaps if you refrain from eating anyone else’s bread and never let anyone else eat your bread then your bread is always the ‘best’! (lol)
But when all you want to know is 'how flour becomes bread', there’s no hierarchy in your thinking. Just a simple curiousity. “Hm. What if I do this?”, “What happens if I do that?”. When all I want to know is 'how flour becomes bread', there’s a seemingly heightened connection with life and with myself. Everything is play. Everything is natural. It feels like the truth.
I’ve never been a human before (I don’t think lol). So by definition, everything is just an experiment in learning. I don’t want to know how to play 'the best' or 'the most'. All of that seems to be relative to something else. About something that isn’t ‘me’. I just want to know how ‘I’ play. And that’s it :)