Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tuning in to the Dharma on TV

It was a cold and wintery night here and we took the opportunity to make some comfort food and snug up in front of ye old telly.  I was reminded that you can find the Dharma anywhere (even on the boob tube!) as we watched a show on the food channel where contestants vie for the title of top chef and a bit of spare change.  I have watched it off and on over the months and tonight was the grande finale.  There was a woman in it who has always appeared graceful and kind.  This is not always the case in the heat of kitchen combat.  

And tonight I saw pure Dharma unfold, and it was a cautionary tale for me.  This woman like all of us has produced some things of great beauty with personality and passion but she has also produced some of the biggest flops on the show.  But somehow she has always managed to regain her composure and shine again.  

So the pressure was on tonight and each contestant got a sous chef to help them cook the best 3 course meal they could.  Their helpers were former contestants.  At one point in the meal preparation, Karla, this delightful chef that I was rooting for, took a suggestion from her helper that altered the preparation of her main course in a big way.  We watched her take this suggestion quickly, as in yeah okay, lets do that.  Later she did it again and in the turn of a spoon changed her final course to a little souffle (not in her original plan) which subsequently flopped and was unservable.

Now the clear Dharma message for me was: we come undone when we don't follow our heart, our intuition, our true self, our inner knowing; however you want to express that.   The judges commented on how "not her" the meat course was and that it was a flop.  And interestingly the souffle that met the bin rather than the judges table was also not her idea.  How often do we do that?  Not trust our instincts, not trust our inner menu plan?  Why did Karla do it?  Was she trying to be accommodating, trying to be liked (a big motivator for many of us), did she truly think Casey's ideas were better, or was she just a little frazzled under all the pressure?

I don't know the answer but I can use this information next time I want to second guess what feels right to d0.  Sometimes it's not easy to stick to your original plan.   It's about faith and trust in ourselves.  Sometimes we get a sense that, maybe I should call so and so, or I think I should pass on this seemingly wonderful job opportunity.  Logic can kick in and tell us that this seems goofy, but somewhere deep inside we have an inner knowing of what is the right thing to do.  It is a skill to simply be aware of those blood and bones feelings.  It can be tricky  to distinguish between those voices vying for attention in our head.  But as we practice we become more acquainted with the true authentic voice of the inner self, sometimes it is just a whisper and sometimes it's a ear splitting shout.  

The second part of the puzzle is to actually have faith and follow through with execution of the plans of the heart.   Karla started out with a plan that was a true expression of Karla but allowed it to be altered and that became her final undoing.   For her it  was a hard way to learn the lesson of  "listen to your deepest self"  but we don't forget those difficult lessons quickly.  Me, I was just an observer  in the 3 ring cooking circus of life but the message seemed clear and instructive.  No matter what's on the menu, make sure that you're reading from that  inner recipe sheet.  Second guessing leads to burnt offerings at best.  And hold the salt, it doesn't go well with wounds.

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