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Dr. Andrew Weil on “cooking” meditation

In many contemplative traditions, it is said that we can practice meditation during the most ordinary activities, such as taking a walk, washing the dishes, or even in the midst of a busy day of emails. Here, our friend and Sounds True author Dr. Andrew Weil shows how the simple art of cooking – when engaged in a present, mindful, and open way – can offer a gateway into the experience of meditation.

We’d love to hear from you on how cooking and other so-called “ordinary” activities offer you a portal into deeper love, awakening, and aliveness in the present moment.

There is a light alive within the darkness

Will you hold another who has been touched by the darkness within? Will you love them enough to allow them to fall apart in your arms? To unravel, to become unglued, and to feel unbearably lost as the wisdom of their process unfolds? Will you be the space in which they can finally meet the feelings and emotions that have been kept at bay for a lifetime?

To love another in this way you must touch everything that is unresolved within you – all of your own unmet sadness, abandoned shame, discarded grief, and deserted aloneness. You are willing to no longer stay safe on the sidelines. You are willing to get messy. Even gooey and drippy.

Will you set aside your need for the other to change, to be different, to be “cured,” to be transformed, and to be healed? Will you resist the temptation to talk them out of their embodied experience, to tell them everything will be okay, and to dishonor the creativity hidden inside the unwanted? Will you allow your heart to break with them, and endure the urge inside you to put it all back together again? Will you fall into the unknown with them, holding them close, and provide a home for their brokenness?

To care about others, yourself, and the world in this way you must stay radically embodied. You are no longer interested in transcending suffering, confusion, and neurosis, for you see these as thundering expressions of the path itself. Please don’t turn away. As your attention moves out into the conceptual world, return to the wild intelligence of your body, for it is there that love is working behind the scenes, giving birth to its sweet activity in this dimension.

It is in this factory of love, which is operating as the temple of your own body, where the sacred world is revealing its essential secrets of healing: there is no “other,” there has never been an “other,” and there could never be an “other.” There is only the reflection of your own being.

Love is taking the pieces of your heart and is using them to re-assemble the world in front of you, each as an invitation sent to reveal to you the preciousness of what is really happening here.

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You are free to be who and what you are now

The fear of being abandoned. The terror of being lonely forever. The anxiety of being utterly dependent upon another.

The panic of unbearable vulnerability and exposure. The dread of the looming death of yourself and everyone around you.

These are the great fears that come as you wake, as you fall asleep, and as you dream through this life.

In your willingness to take a risk, to feel everything, to truly allow another to matter, and to expose yourself to an eternal sort of heartbreak, you come face to face with the most devastating fear that you’ve ever known, but have never been able to articulate: that you are loved.

For when you are truly loved, when you are entirely seen, when you are fully held, it is the end of your world as you know it. Things will never be the same. You will never again be able to pretend that you are other than precious and whole as you are. The implications of this are dizzying if you let them all the way in.

It is so exhilarating to be seen and held in this way, but it is also terrifying as you are fully naked now, utterly raw, and achingly wide open. Even the breeze as it passes you feels as if it might be too much, for it goes right through your skin to touch your heart. A sunrise, the longing of a little baby, the autumn leaves, looking into the eyes of your lover – you may never be protected again. The particles of love are interpenetrating your entire sensory world and you are just not sure your heart and nervous system can take it.

You are free to be who and what you are now – no longer tied to a past you thought you wanted, no longer bound by the limited, willing to risk it all for love, and free to be the fearless wildness that you are.

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Enter the Mystery

Once upon a time there was no time
Only the circling of suns and moons and stars
Across the infinite namelessness

Do you remember?

Breathe deeply and look back with me
Far, far away to the earth’s first dawn
Where we stood together in awe at so much beauty

Can you see it?

When our only purpose was to be
When the present moment was the path
When life whispered in our ears the secrets of the universe
and we knew how to listen

Truly I tell you this day is no different
Originality renews itself in every falling snowflake
Walk then with me into this mystery
Shimmering with answers to questions we need not ask

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Preparing you for what is next

Look close and see what it is that you do not want to feel, that you will do anything to avoid, that no matter what you… will… not… go… there. Your dependency. Your aloneness. Your hatred. Your utter despair. Your conviction that you are not actually lovable as you are.

Take pause. Things are not what they seem. For love is alive, and is all. Touch the earth. Look up into the sky. Call out for help. Crumble to the ground. Fall apart and give up the fantasy that you will ever, ever, ever be put back together again. Breathe this abandoned feeling into your heart. Hold it. Touch it. Let it unravel its secrets. Let it dance within you. Let it unlock each and every strategy, defense, and piece of armor protecting you. It will not destroy you. It has come as fierce grace to reveal how infinite you really are.

What you are is pristine, luminous consciousness itself. Even the greatest despair, the most terrifying fear, the most profound grief – these rise and fall in you, liberating in your awareness, in your care, and in your kindness. Your body and your heart are a sanctuary for love’s movement. Your body is a factory of grace.

See that there is nothing here working against you. Everything in this world is comprised of the same particles of love, which take shape as the galaxies, the oceans, and as the cells of your heart. They illuminate the strands of your DNA and the synapses in your brain. Love is everywhere.

Watch carefully how love appears as light and appears as dark, as wisdom and confusion, as joy and as sadness, and as human and divine, come only to prepare you for what is next. And what is next after that.

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Love would never ask you to hold it all together

There is a movement within you to hold it all together
To know how the journey will unfold
To know what the unknown will bring
But love was never designed to provide these things
Love is out of control and wants to show you everything
It wants your ordinariness, your humility, your broken-openness, so that it may finally reach you
Love would never ask you to hold it all together, for it wants only to take you apart, to show you what is waiting to be born within you

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