The Sweet Taste
Yesterday I went to the Columbia Farmers Market. It is always a stimulating place to visit. There are so many sights: white plastic coolers filled with fresh Missouri trout, mounds of exotic Asian vegetables, jar after jar of local honey. Walking between the vendors it is hard to know which way to look. Do I look at the fresh blueberries or the goat cheese? Do I check out the young herb plants or the fresh artisanal bread? Then I notice people carrying baskets of fresh peaches, so I go to search for them and find a long line of people with the same desire.
Standing in line, I realize I know the person in front of me. It's hard to go to the Farmers Market without running into someone I know. Especially when we haven't seen each other in a while, we'll stop to chat, briefly letting go of that sense of mission about finding peaches or lettuce or whatever it is that we desire. We talk about family, friends, work or the events of the world, sharing our views and opinions.
All of these sense impressions, views and opinions belong to the realm of conditioned things. They're the things we get attached to. When I say we get attached to them, I'm not making a value judgement. It isn't a statement of right or wrong. It's simply a statement that "this is the way that it is." The way-it-is is that we get attached to conditioned things. Yesterday I was attached to getting fresh blueberries and peaches. I also get attached to my own views and opinions and believe that I'm right and others are, to put it nicely, misguided.
If I hadn't found the blueberries or peaches, I would have been disappointed. If they spoil in a day or two, before they're all eaten, I'll be disappointed that they didn't last. If I eat them all before they spoil, I'll be disappointed that they're gone and will want more. Even pleasant things bring disappointment, or unsatisfactoriness, because they don't last. This is the nature of conditioned things. When I'm attached to them being a particular way --available, fresh, lasting as long as I want -- it leads to some uneasiness with life.
Sometimes, though, I have my fruit and am still at ease. What makes this possible? It's when there is a knowing and an acceptance that this is the way that it is. If the peaches are gone and I'm disappointed, it is simply knowing the disappointment as the way that it is. If the peaches are a perfect combination of sweet and tart and desire is arising for another bite, it is a simple knowing that this is the way that it is. There is no judgement about one or the other. There is just the knowing and accepting that in this moment this is the way that it is.
When I rest, truly rest, in this moment, there is peace. There is contentment. At these times there is no story about what is happening, no sense of passing time, and no sense of an I that is doing or knowing or experiencing, there is just this. The taste of freedom at these moments is truly sweeter than the taste of fresh blueberries or peaches has ever been.