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An Evening at the Café Nirvana

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GliderGuider Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Sep-20-10 07:59 AM
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An Evening at the Café Nirvana
To set the stage for this little parable, I invite you to imagine that you're hungry. Really hungry. Starving, even. So hungry that it feels like you've been hungry for your whole life. Your one and only wish, eclipsing all others, is to be full - to finally end this insatiable craving. We've all been that hungry at some point in our lives, haven't we?

OK, so you're really, really hungry, and you're surfing cooking sites on the Web when you notice that a world famous chef is coming to town for one night only at Café Nirvana. Not only that, but this chef specializes in just the kind of food you most adore. For our purposes it doesn't matter what cuisine it is - it could be Indian or Japanese or West Coast Fusion or even Italian - the point is that it's your absolute favorite. So you call up Café Nirvana and make a reservation for the special event.

At the scheduled time you arrive at the café. As you walk in you notice that it's been decorated specially for the occasion. The smell of cooking in the air makes you mouth water with anticipation, and the other guests share in the buzz of eager excitement. One interesting thing you notice is that the tables have all been pushed against the walls, while the chairs have been pulled into in a circle in the open center of the room. A waiter shows you to one of the chairs, you sit down and wait for the evening to begin.

At the appointed time the house lights are dimmed, the kitchen door swings open and the chef himself strides in, surrounded by heavenly aromas and beaming from ear to ear. He looks just like a great chef should look, dressed in his white jacket and tall hat, with a twinkle in his eye a bit of a belly that speaks of endless satisfying meals. Carrying an armful of cookbooks, he makes his way to the big chair at the top of the circle, sits down and welcomes all the guests to this special evening. Then he picks up the first cookbook and begins to weave the story of a meal.

He describes in great loving detail all the recipes that will make up the meal. He describes all the ingredients - where they come from, the way each ingredient is prepared, the qualities they add to the dish. He recounts the personal touches he brings to each dish, the way he changes proportions or substitutes ingredients to create something truly unique and satisfying, each dish a reflection of his own vision. He starts by describing the soups, salads and appetizers, then moves on to the main courses. His passion for the food is palpable, and the love in his voice draws you in. By the time he has finished describing the central dishes of the meal and the wines that must accompany them, you can practically taste the food, almost feel it in your stomach. As he makes his way through descriptions of desserts you are in heaven, enveloped in a cloud of bliss so deep the room itself seems to disappear.

The chef brings everyone back to earth by describing the exotic coffees that finish the meal. The guests sit in stunned and blissful silence, then as one they explode to their feet with applause and cheers of appreciation. The chef stands, bows, thanks everyone for their attendance, and disappears back into the kitchen. After a moment the house lights go up, and the smiling waiters usher everyone to the door with a cheery "Goodnight, and thanks for coming!"

You drift home in a cloud of culinary dreams, every sense awake and tingling. As you tumble into bed you think that you have never felt so inspired by food in your entire life!

It's not until you wake up next morning to that old familiar gnawing hunger that you realize you didn't actually eat anything...

A spiritual journey has much in common with physical eating - both the spirit and the body need to be nourished in order to remain healthy and grow. A spiritual teacher, like our fictional chef, can describe the ideas, insights, states and practices that go into nourishing the spirit. However we need to remember that these descriptions are not the nourishment itself. In order to feed either body or soul, we need to actually eat the food ourselves. No one else can do any more than point us toward interesting recipes. If we do not put in the effort to prepare the food and eat it, we will stay hungry.

After the teaching is over, the eating is up to us.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Dec-05-10 05:29 PM
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1. I wish I could recommended this. nt
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