March 29, 2011

Interaction with Dough

You can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she interacts with dough. Just watch a man as he pounds and dances with a ball of flour and egg and you can read right into his soul. You can watch insecurities morph into frustrations only to magnify into neurosis. Let that dough remain unyielding for long enough and a man may go mad. Or he may tenderly and firmly knead the dough, pull it, stretch it, find its (his) limits.

I decided to make fresh pasta today. I need a meditative practice. I need a new hobby. I need to see myself with dough, in dough, through dough? I need to tend to my anxiety and assuage my patience. I need to do something with all my soul. I need to not multi-task and work with deliberation. I need to cook.

One of the easiest Zen tenets is to act with awareness and determination. Be here now and be into what you are doing. Take the simplest task and give yourself to it fully. When I say easiest, of course I mean easiest to understand, but nothing in Zen is easy. One can want to make fresh pasta with his four year old daughter during spring break, but to actually make it happen takes a lot more_____________?

I am not sure what it takes, but I do know that when you find a simple task like making food, and you bring love to it, and surround yourself with music and sunlight, and you talk to your growing child about what you are doing, and you talk and knead, and roll and need each other, beautiful things happen. 

This is all there really is. This is the happiness so many people find elusive. A man and his child standing in the kitchen making lunch...

More pictures here

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