Saturday, January 22, 2011

What Baking Taught Me About Zen

Feeling an aching back after today's bake sale, washing rice to go with a simmering dal, I was reminded of a saying of Suzuki-Roshi as recounted by Ed Espe Brown: "When you wash the rice, wash the rice." Meaning, have awareness and mindfulness of purpose. Many mornings baking at the bakery, this saying stuck in my head as I was doing one repetitive, banal task or another (such as rolling rolls or washing dishes). The skill of focusing mindfulness is one that is never perfected, only steadily disciplined. At the bakery, I found that the little nagging aches and pains that go along with manual labor could be soothed through bodily awareness. Who is the baker who feels the floor beneath his/her feet, or visualizes mentally the motion of an outstretched arm as it shapes a dough to form?

1 comment:

  1. or you could call it 'mindful munchies' ok, i promise, no more =)