Zen cooking and desires

 

The Zen cook takes whatever ingredients are available and works with it. 

So how does that look in terms of desires? For instance, a desire to know, do and die? 

A desire to know can be cooked with in a less helpful way, as a way to accumulate stories for their own sake and taking them as true. And it can be cooked with in a more helpful way, as a desire to know what I am and a more playful exploration of stories as temporary tools. When does any particular story seem useful? When not? 

A desire to do can be cooked into an escape, and be less helpful in the long run. And it can be cooked in a more helpful way, at our human level and also to invite what we are to notice itself. It can be a doing of inquiry and allowing shifts making it easier for what I am to notice itself. 

A desire for something to die is similar. When cooked in confusion, it can be less helpful. When cooked with more clarity, it can be a motivation for change in our human life, and also for allowing identification with stories and a sense of a separate I to fall away. What do I more honestly want to die? When I explore it for myself, I find that it is that identification with a story.  

There are two ways to approach this. 

I can take whatever ingredients are here and cook with them differently, maybe with a little more skill. 

And I can trace desires back, find what they more honestly are about for me. 

And those two are not that different. 

A good cook will naturally be curious about the ingredients. What are they really? 

And when desires are traced back, they naturally are cooked with differently. Initially, it may appear as a desire to know about the history of China, and then it is clarified as a desire to know what I am and explore the infinite ways it plays itself out as form. (Including as the history of China!)

Footnote: When only the highlights are presented like here, it can easily seem abstract and disembodied. So when I take a desire for something to die, and look at what it is really about in a more finely grained way, what does it look like?

There is a desire for something to die. It could be a situation, a person, or even – either very subtly, or more obviously in extreme cases – myself. When I look at it, I find that it is more a desire for discomfort to die, to go away. A desire to not get caught up in, or blindly identified, with that drama.

And all of that is coming from taking stories as true. I take a story about a situation as true, and feel stress. There is a clash between my stories of what should be and what is. And if the clash is strong enough, it can feel intolerable. There is a strong desire for something to change. 

Behind all of that is the identification with a story of a separate I, and how this filters the sense fields so it seems very real and true. When I take what I really am to be a separate self, there has to be stress and – in some cases – a wish for something to go away, to die. Either a situation, a person, myself, or something in me. 

Since there has been shifts into what I am noticing itself more clearly, the contrast between this and getting caught up in stories is pretty obvious. Somewhere, I know it is just a story, a temporary illusion and misidentification. 

So in several ways, I can see that what it boils down to is a desire for an identification with a story to go away. 

And it is all innocent. The confusion. The desire. Whether the desire appears to be about one thing or another. It is all innocence. It is all the play of what I am and everything is. 

………..

Initial draft…

Another quickie…

The Zen cook takes whatever ingredients are available and works with it. 

And these ingredients are whatever happens in our daily life.  

For instance, a desire to know is less helpful if it is cooked as an accumulation of stories (maps, tools, pointers, insights, knowledge) for their own sake, and if these are taken as anything more than pointers that sometimes have practical value, and sometimes (more often) not. But a desire to know can be cooked with in a different way as well. It can be a desire to know what we are, and a more playful exploration of stories as temporary tools. When do they seem useful? When not? 

A wanting to do may be less helpful if it is cooked into an escape. But it can be very helpful at our human level. And it can be useful in inviting what we are to notice itself as well, if used more skilfully through inquiry and allowing shifts. 

And even something like an impulse of wanting something/one to die is an ingredient that can be very helpful. (It comes up for all of us sometimes, even in very slight ways – for instance as an impulse of wanting something to be different. Wanting it to die as it is.) What do I really want to die? When I explore it for myself, I find a desire for a sense of being caught up in drama and suffering to die. Or more precisely, I want identification with a sense of a separate I to die. The identification with that particular mental field fabrication. 

There are two ways to look at this. 

One is to find an ingredient, such as a desire to know, do or die, and then use it in a different way. Find ways to cook with it a little more skillfully. 

The other is to trace it back. What is it really?

I may find that desire for knowledge all boils down to a desire to know God, or what I and everything else is. I want to know it as Ground, and also in its infinite diversity in form. 

A desire to do is similar. A desire to shift so what I am can notice itself. And a desire to explore this human life through doing and experiencing. 

And a desire for something to die may also turn out to be quite similar. A desire for identification with a sense of I-other to die, to fall away, revealing what all really is. 

And those two approaches are not really two. 

As a cook, I am naturally curious about the ingredients. What are they really? 

And in tracing these desires back, clarifying what they more honestly are about for me, they are naturally used differently in my life. They are cooked with differently. 

Second outline…

  • zen cook, use what you’ve got
    • desire to know, do, die
      • can be cooked with in a less helpful way
      • or more helpful way
    • also, two approaches
      • take ingredients, cook with differently
      • trace back the desire, find what is more true for me about it
      • not different
        • as a cook, naturally curious about the ingredients
        • when trace back, naturally cooked with differently

 

Initial outline…

  • zen cook, use what you’ve got
    • wanting to know > to know what I am
    • wanting to do > shift into noticing what I am
    • wanting to die > what wants to die? sense of separate I
    • etc.

Related posts

One thought on “Zen cooking and desires

  1. I greatly enjoy your blog. These posts with the outlines are fascinating to me as a writer. The creative process documented is no easy feat.

    The juxtaposition of ingredients and the subtle yet distinct undertones (allusions)make for deliciously original dishes.

    Bon appetit. (Is there a difference between appetite and desire?)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *