It’s the time of the year in the Northern hemisphere when the sun reveals how dirty the windows are and how much dust has collected above and below the eye level. This week, I have been brushing, mopping, washing, recycling and throwing away sacks of rubbish. It’s a good start. However, a conversation with a friend reminded me of something I’ve neglected to sweep: my heart and mind. The former looks like a chimney and the latter is about to explode with unsorted ideas, ambitions and emotions.
I’ve always had an urge to simplify. That’s why I’m drawn to ascetics and sages. They are oblivious to mundane. Their depth of reality, unlocked by the inner eye, remains invisible to those who rush to conquer the world of names. Bare souls, stripped from designations, are often stigmatized as socially plain, simpletons. It doesn’t bother me. On the contrary, I’m intrigued by the sustenance and satisfaction provoked by an apparent lack of amplitude. Is there anything more valuable than freedom and satisfaction experienced by an uncluttered mind? It always seeks to apprehend particles in relation to a whole. Such genius of thought is able to extract the essence of all with a single stroke, without entangling with details and forms. It serves the core of our being and connection to the primordial awareness and values, Divinity.
Although sophistication has a derogatory annotation in the modern language, we are keen to aspire it. Its origin is in Greek sophos, wisdom, which was an ornament of poets and visionaries who reached to verbalize beneficial concepts for others. However, the philosophers of the 5th century BC – sometimes referred to as the hair-splitting wordsmiths – brought the practice down with a thirst for power and deception at the cost of truth. Their willingness to sell an idea for popularity describes accurately the tendency to move outwards, away from the center of perception, and simplicity.
As a network of conditions, arranged by a complex mind, sophistication is loaded with prerequisites, ranks, restrictions, details, theories, proofs and qualifications that all must be met on a social and individual level before there is contentment! Any imbalance in a situation, performance or formula will create a negative setback. For a soul, who is – by au naturel – conscious, knowledgeable and blissful, it’s a trap! In the name of refinement and betterment, it attaches us to the subtleties of form. When appraising externals, there is a chance we will divert from the sincerity of intention and, no longer, see the context.
To me, spring cleaning means to undress and fold away layers and layers of self-appointed identifications I have collected over the winter. Returning to blogging, finally, brings me back to the basics. I would like this year to mark my kitchen meditation as an opportunity for personal reform. Combining ingredients in a palatable manner counts (to me) only to the degree it makes me genuine and decreasingly envious, angry, greedy, lusty, mad and under an illusion of who I am, where I’m heading at, and why.
Today’s recipe of tomato dal stands for simplicity. As the most advantageous yoga food nature has to offer, it has an exceptional nutritional profile. It’s rich in protein, B-vitamins and minerals. Combined with plain rice, it forms the base of a balanced meal.
Technically, dal is not a soup although the consistency is often soupy. It’s rather considered gravy.
Mung beans are the most digestible of the varieties of pulses known, and can be served to children and elderly alike. Hulled and split, they provide a neutral canvas for spices. A little bit of ginger, chili, cumin, coriander and hing fried in a spoonful of ghee quickly paints an exciting lunch or dinner. There is no limit to the intricacy of flavors that can be pulled out by adding cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, fennel, anise, fenugreek, kalonji or mustard seeds…
However, more important than the altitude of aromas is the consciousness by which the food is prepared, served and enjoyed. It brings us back to the realm of purpose that supports our relationships in this world, and beyond.
Food cooked for the well-being and pleasure of others will generate happiness. The depth and intensity of it translates to our ability to love. When it barely reaches beyond our own needs, it’s meager and miserly. When it transcends the physical laws of nature, and touches the soul of all souls, everyone will benefit.