Slow down and Look Around
On weekday mornings, I hurriedly drive my son to school. Trying to beat the traffic and catch as many green lights as possible, the drive is usually a blur. One particular morning’s drive changed my perspective. While rushing down a wide arterial road, my son exclaimed to me that the trees on the sidewalk looked very beautiful.
Glancing over to the trees, I suddenly noticed the vibrant reds and yellows of the leaves clinging onto branches or drifting onto the sidewalk as the wind blew. Despite driving down this street every morning, in my hurry I had not noticed the changing colors of the trees until now, nearly the end of fall. The bright hues of the fall foliage was absolutely beautiful. This nature beauty made me slowing down my daily past pace. I feel the healing power of nature relaxing my tense nerves, and filled my heart with joy, peace, and harmony.
As I admired the scenery on the commute, I felt how wonderful it was to be present in the moment. I realized that oftentimes we lose sight of the little elements of natural beauty that are all around us. Life can be hectic, but we must make a conscious effort to enjoy the omnipresent beauty of our world.
A poem by a ancient Zen Master came to my mind:
Blossoms in Spring, Breezes in Summer,
Glorious moons in Fall, and Snow in Winter.
When one is not held back by nothing,
Every moment can be wonderful.
Egg Shells and Patience
Eggs are an essential part of a good breakfast. There are countless ways to prepare them, but not all recipes are made equal. I used to cook omelettes for the family, but recently I learned that hard boiled eggs are actually a better choice. Hard boiled egg can keep more nutrients from the egg and avoid extra oil.
The only problem is, peeling a hard boiled egg is a rather arduous task. The shell and egg white absolutely refuse to be parted. Usually, the peeled egg ends up looking kind of like the moon, full of craters and lumps and whatnot. This morning, I got very frustrated trying to peel my hard boiled egg. It felt like the shell and egg white were superglued together. Even my mother’s old trick of placing the boiled eggs into cold water didn’t seem to work. After my first peeled egg ended up looking like a misshapen golf ball, I was ready to throw them all onto the floor.
Fortunately, I am a Buddhist disciple, and I remembered one of the most important things I’d learned: patience. I told myself, as a student of the Buddha who cultivates myself everyday, why am I still so easily distressed by outside events?
So I decided to let myself calm down for a while. I left the eggs in the cold water and went off to relax. After maybe fifteen minutes, I returned to give making breakfast another shot. Surprisingly, the shell peeled off easily this time. I realized that by being patient and giving the eggs more time to cool down, it was now much easier to complete my task. So when annoying things happen, we must first be patient. Let it all cool down, and things will be much easier to deal with.
Patient means embracing yourself and all things around you with gentleness and kindness, and doing so will get happy and more productive results.