How to eat Tiramisu, How to eat your life

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How to eat Tiramisu, How to eat your life

As the Tiramisu touches your tongue, you are comparing the texture and flavor to a memory of the best Tiramisu you ever tasted.  

That is not how to eat Tiramisu.   

You ordered Tiramisu.  You wanted Tiramisu.  You took the first bite of Tiramisu.  The Tiramisu is in your mouth.  You haven’t even swallowed the first bite.  And, you have already determined whether or not it is as good as your favorite Tiramisu.

That is not how to eat Tiramisu.  That is not how to live your life.

Before you swallow the first bite, you have decided that it is not as good as the other Tiramisu.  But you still have 9 more bites.  You are going to be eating “not as good as” Tiramisu for 9 more bites.  Why do that to yourself?  You can’t eat the Tiramisu memory today so why put it on your plate?  

That is not how to eat today’s Tiramisu.  That is not how to live this moment.  

You have both perception and memory.  They have a place.  And keeping track of where you found the best Tiramisu is useful information.  You can choose to go there next time.  But you still have 9 bites in front of you.  So what can you do different now?  

Here is how to eat Tiramisu.  Here is how to eat your life.  

Choose Tiramisu.  Order Tiramisu.  Just don’t eat Tiramisu.  

Eat what they put in front of you.  Put it in your mouth.  Be with the flavors.  Be with the aroma.  Be with the texture.    Be in your life as a first experience, not as compared memory.  After experiencing 10 bites, then compare, if you must.  But live your life first.   

This how to eat Tiramisu.  This is how to eat your life.  

This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha.

I was listening to Alan Watts on youtube (while I run) and this idea came to me: How to eat Tiramisu, as a metaphor for living

So there is a Me-Ness of me.  The personality of me.  That part of me, that is my story.  That commentator of my life that wants to share how I have had Tiramisu before, where, when, why it is better than this Tiramisu.  My Me-Ness wants to tell you about Tiramisu I have eaten in Rome.  

If you notice, your mind comments on most everything, if you pay attention.  It sees everything around you as an object. Defines it. Labels it, good or bad. Criticizes how it could be better.  And there’s no limit to what it has an opinion about. It could have an opinion about buildings, societies, religion, political points of view.  Anything that can be thought about can be a critical thought or opinion.

The mind was tasked with keeping my body alive, from an early age.  Keep me away from fire, hot ovens, and cars that could run me over.  That critical discriminatory view of everything has kept me alive for all these years.  

It doesn’t matter what subject the thoughts are.  My mind loves to take attention from perception and assign it to thinking critically to find a better path through life.  The mind wants to pick on something to criticize.  My mind wants to save me from mediocrity, to make me safe and prosperous.  

It is the same critical mind function that makes sure nothing is going to kill me, that invades my complete perception of flavor during my first bite of Tiramisu.  

This mind function is the critical thinking, about career, finances, jobs, relationships.  It seems singularly focused on identifying what is wrong around me.  Should we get rid of this problem?  Should we make improvements to that problem?  I will get rid of that person it doesn’t improve.  This isn’t it.  This is wrong.  This is not the life I am supposed to be living.  How do I fix it?  

Our mind takes the critical throne and sets the requirements of what we need to be happy.  The elements in our environment (people, places, jobs, ideas, organizations) must fit these requirements to be acceptable.  Who we are enjoys out life in the background.  But or mind is not as interested in experiencing our life.  The mind seems interested in improving the present moment rather than enjoying it.  

“Tiramisu must taste like this memory in order to enjoy all 10 bites.”  

I may eat all 10 bites, but I will punish each bite with a memory of an earlier better bite.  That is the mind’s way of punishing this flavor for showing up on the memories of my taste buds.     

Your discriminatory highness, King Highness of Best Taste and Distinction, must be pleased for true acceptance.  Conditions must please Your King Highness of memories.  Life be damned.    

So that is the background to which Tiramisu is consumed by your mind.  Approval is needed in order for the present moment to be enjoyed.  That is the context of what your mind believes you are.  It is not just when you eat Tiramisu.  This is how most people consume every aspect of life living in their mind, by comparison with memory.

Every moment is a talent show where what appears in front of your mind is given thumbs up or thumbs down.  Does this moment fit the picture?  

When you smell a flower with your mind, you are in the smell for only a moment before you are recall what this rose “smells like” from your memories.  Your mind works that fast.  You are not alive in raw experience in your senses for more than a moment.  You are living in memories.  

This Tiramisu is almost as good as the Tiramisu at …. [insert personal memory].

Your critical discriminating mind immediately identifies something that either smells better than this, or not quite as good as this.  It is  hard to see, but what your mind is doing is living your life.  The mind is living your life as a commentator. It is presenting a sliced and diced, cut, presented, approved, disapproved, commented upon, or mildly approved with some reservation commentary on the unfolding moments in your life.  

None of that, after a moment, is living the experience of the unlabeled thing put down in front of you.  The mind is too busy grabbing the perception from the experience of what was put in front of you.  The mind is too busy comparing this to the best Tiramisu.  

Even if they called it something other than Tiramisu, your mind would say, “It is kind of like Tiramisu, but not quite as good, or slightly better.”  Timmy-masu is better than Tiramisu.  This is humanity but some of us are waking up.  

If you watch the mind closely, you’ll see.  It doesn’t matter what the subject is. Watch the activity it’s doing.  It will do the same thing to each object it focuses on.  “It’s not bad. But it’s not as good as ….”   “Oh my god, it is the best ever.”  

Most minds are not saying, “This is the best ever” to every experience so most people are living in a “Not as good as world.”  Even if they are personally living in an amazing world, most people compare themselves to others who is living in a “better world.”  

The critical dicing and slicing of present experience in real time, makes you present to the criticism of life.  It makes you present to distinctions of how this is better than that, or not.  Instead of being present to the aliveness of perception in your life in real time, you are present to an unspoken conclusion, that you are not living the best possible version of your life right now.  There is a better Tiramisu out there and you still have 9 bites of “almost as good left” to eat.  

Almost immediately after the Tiramisu touches your tongue, you are present to the fact that you are not eating what you want right now.  It is the nature of living in the everyday life of a mind, that this moment isn’t always the best day of your life.  You are living a series of observations that this life is second best, third best, or worse, and it can often tell you a previous time or place that is better.

You are not being in your life in a way that allows the full experience of the present Tiramisu.  

And why would you do that to yourself?  Why are you sabotaging this moment with a memory of a previous Tiramisu that is not even in front of you right now.  You can’t eat that Tiramisu right now.  And, you can’t experience this Tiramisu right now either because your mind is flooding the present experience with critical comparative thoughts that can’t help you taste anything right now.  

You can only eat today, now.  You can’t eat yesterday, now.  You can’t eat tomorrow, now.  You are not living your life.  So what do you do?  

You need to live the only life that is available to you, now.  

Some people try meditation. Others try yoga.  You have to be present now.  Be aware of everything all around you all at once without focus, without comparison, without conclusion.  

Be alive now. Be in the awareness now, the perception of your life happening.  Instead of being in your autobiography of previous moments as compared to now.

You have to spend time in perception.  And live it. Live your life. There is nothing you need to learn to start.  There’s nowhere you need to go. There’s no book you need to read.  You just have to start living in your experience.  

And, just notice when your mind jumps up.  When the Tiramisu is in your mouth. And you’re swirling it around.  Just go deep into the sensations of these textures, flavors, temperatures, aromas.  Go down the rabbit hole with the exploding experience of flavors.  

Go deep into the experience of the thing that’s in your mouth.  It’s not Tiramisu.  It is your life.  It is a choice to be in your life.  Swirl it around.  Choose being alive.  Focus your attention on the beingness of the experience.  

That’s what Buddha was talking about. Experience your life.  Be in the perception of now with child-like eyes.  As space opens up, you will begin to see the difference raw perception makes.  

You are allowed, to allow yourself, to feel, what living feels like, it’s not a crime.

At first, you may only double the time you spend in perception.  At first, you may only spend two tenths of a second, before your mind begins eating a memory of Tiramisu.  But if you make it a practice to begin experiencing living your life a little longer.  Being with uncompared unlabeled awareness of now in each moment, you will feel the joy of living.  The grace of freedom of being is not earned.  You just accept it.  You allow yourself to be alive.  

Choose Tiramisu.  Order Tiramisu.  Just don’t eat Tiramisu.  

Eat what they put in front of you.  Put it in your mouth.  Be with the flavors.  Be with the aroma.  Be with the texture.  Be in life as a first experience, not as a memory.  Be in moments that are empty of mind, empty of memory.  After experiencing 10 bites, then compare, if you must.  But live your life first.   

This how to eat Tiramisu.  This is how to eat your life.  

This is Dan of Vagabond Buddha.