So, I was making steel-cut oats the other morning (yes, very hippy…I even add chia as a topping) and I had one of those thoughts that seemed ridiculous on the surface, but became more interesting to me the more I thought about it. I was waiting for my water to boil, and I turn to my husband and intone “a watched pot never boils”. Nothing new there, right? But then I said, “Well, maybe if you are a Zen master, the pot is always boiling.”
Silly, right? And, I promise you, I wasn’t hitting the Mary Jane. Here’s the thing. Watching the pot and anxiously waiting for it to boil and get to the next stage is agonizing, because all you are thinking of is the next stage. But, if someone is truly in the moment, there’s no attachment. So, when the pot boils, it’s a delightful surprise. And I suppose (although believe me, I have no experience with this level of mindfulness or patience) that at some level of enlightenment, there is no difference between a boiling pot, and a non-boiling one.
When I was in teacher training with the esteemable Noell Clark, she gave a piece of advice that had to do with protecting our necks. As cell phones have become a near constant of our lives, our necks have taken the burden. She offered a piece of advice–use the headrest in our vehicles. I took that to heart. I use it all the time. Not only is it good for my neck, but it’s kind of like I’ve surrendered to being in the car. My aggravation level visibly decreases when I just relax, and rest my head. It takes my monkey mind away from living in the destination, and brings me into the present, which allows me to find contentment in what I’m doing.
Making oatmeal, driving a car. What else can you just surrender to so that the end result is a pleasant surprise? Let me know in the comments.