Tai uses an analogy that really talks to me. He says that we need to be like a soup, our knowledge, our lives.
You can’t make a good soup with just a few ingredients. You need a lot of ingredients to make a soup that you don’t have to make edible by crumbling crackers into it, or bread. 1
A good soup is a symphony of tastes, smells, and every new piece you find in your spoon is a new delight and a surprise. A great analogy for life. NOT your life right now, but for a LIFE WORTH LIVING.
Now, what does this mean to you?
You, I say, live an impoverished life. You live through words, and you live through wanting and not wanting. And the different areas of your life could be said to belong to different people…
And you are no fun.
You are no soup, you are water with some stuff floating in it. No flavor, no harmony… ugh.
And you resist every new thing and every new way that would make you a soup…
You know what you want. You want to be a billionaire. You want to be an artist who makes a living with art. You want to be a realtor. You want to be free. You want, you want, you want.
You are like Trump. For some of you this is a compliment (what the heck are you doing on my site reading this?) and for some of you this is an insult. The rest of you don’t even understand what I just said: you haven’t even looked what Trump and his life is like.
Impoverished, I would say, but you have never been rich. Impoverished means that once you were rich and now you are poor.
In terms of life… Probably every single one of you has more money than I do. But your money didn’t bring you life. You are postponing living to when you have achieved what you want to achieve… piha. Phooey!
The grass doesn’t grow where you tread.
I have a student who is having a hard time setting a direction in which to move. How about becoming someone who, when she walks, the grass grows bigger, happier, livelier, greener?
When I watch people clamor for the weekend, clamor for the vacation: their weekends cannot be richer than their work days, because they are no soup… so the desire to be yourself ends up in disappointing soup that needs to be filled with crackers… because the soup that you are has no body, has no flavor, has no substance.
Admittedly, going from thin “soup” to soup will take work. And some of that work is going to be hard. Hard for you. And most of you will refuse to do it… you’ll opt for the crackers filled soup.
One of my problems with America is that people have no idea how to eat well. How to cook well, How to enjoy what they are eating.
A bunch of puppets who never learned to feel. No distinctions.
The world’s riches only reveals itself through feelings. Feelings of taste, feelings of touch, feelings of temperature…
Your life cannot be richer than your vocabulary. Vocabulary of feelings. Not words, feelings.
To paraphrase the coan of the old Forum: For you everything feels the same as everything else, except that not always. You need to learn feelings, or you will remain the walking dead, hellbent on having what you want… except even if you’ll have it: nobody is there to enjoy it.
I listen in to people’s conversations, and I am appalled. And bored.
Your conversations show how narrow, how shallow, how thin a soup you are.
I watch what you read… how you read, what you do with what you read… if you read at all.
- You are a curiosity seeker, you read everything that looks interesting, and the nasty stuff goes through your stomach undigested… because it’s toxic. You call it food… but you are not nourished. You read to avoid living, you read to avoid thinking, you read to avoid boredom. The boredom with yourself, because you are a two-bit soup: water and salt…
- You know what you want, and you read only that. You want to read romance novels: His lips blah blah blah… And that’s who you are: a puppet on the desire trap… Nothing, no one, water and sugar… is that soup? Ugh.
- Oh, you are much better… you only read non-fiction. You dutifully read all the books on Tai’s list… but when you speak, when you write, it is clear that all went through you without nourishing you, without making any difference.You are still only about yourself, about what you want… All that reading has not connected you to life, to reality, to other people… you remained a two-bit soup…
- And then there is you: who shows some hope. You are starting to have some inkling that there is more to life than to become what society wants you to become: a cog in the machine, a wanting machine. You are still trapped, you are still on the mouse wheel, but you are starting to awaken, the more steps you listen, the more you ponder about your life, the more ingredients you are putting into the soup that you are.
- And then there is you, the biggest surprise. You who I had no hopes for becoming a tasty interesting soup. You, who nowadays teaches me stuff I wasn’t able to see myself. That through reading you start connecting to people. To humanity. That through reading you become part of life, and your isolation, your separateness dissolves, and once you are connected to people, you can connect to All-of-it… and to the magic, the divine, to Life.The most interesting and telling how you, through the seemingly simple act of reading, activated now nine spiritual capacities.But there is a difference between reading and reading.When you read for confirmation: you activate nothing, other than your good marker feelings attached to: I am so smart. or “I knew that”When you read for entertainment, you activate nothing.
When you read for knowledge, in order to… you activate nothing.
And how you do anything is how you do everything. Because the you goes with you, wherever you go.
- And lastly, there is the last you, whose main move is resistance. You are the most interesting of all the soups: your capacity to hold stuff is so limited, that in order to put carrots in you, you need to get rid of the onions…No capacity to have.It’s either this or that. Going from thin soup to a different thin soup. Too afraid to have a wider cone of vision. To put stuff into your soup and see how it turns out. No, it has to be regimented. Rigid. Just so…
As you see, my job is to help you become a good soup, no matter what soup you started out to be.
The bridge, the path, the stumbling block to get over, is feeling. Feeling what you feel.
It happened in 1996 for me.
I was driving home from a Landmark course… The session, a Friday, was about language.
The assignment was to observe the conversation our butt was having with the seat, our hands with the coffee cup, our lips with the coffee.
The drive home was over an hour. And I was present to all these conversations. The language of feelings. And my life will never be the same.
I didn’t rush to attach words to the feelings. I allowed the feelings to speak “feeling-language”, not words.
When you jump to words, you jump to a different paradigm. You’ll have words that “mean” or supposed to mean what you feel… but they replace the feeling… they are a stand-in, an impostor.
When you observe, wordlessly, the conversation between your butt and the seat, the chair, the bed, the underwear… you get in touch with what is the same between you and other people. You get your individuality through your sameness.
Feel as barriers fall away, and suddenly, maybe for the first time, you become part of humanity.
Feel the fear in your chest, how it rises to your arms to make the arms push it all away.
Just feel it. Don’t just read the words… feel it. You can.
And then feel as the pressure goes away and you can now breathe… again.
Good. this is an important step if you ever what to LIVE as if you were alive.
- Some poor man’s soups, onion soup, garlic soup, “rue” soup in Hungary, are so uninteresting that you can’t eat it without putting bread in them. The versions with poached egg, cheese melted on top, etc. are the restaurant versions of the same soups… but the soup itself is a poor man’s soup. Poor as in not having much to give.
Not surprisingly, one of my all time favorite fairy tales is the Stone Soup, in which the man gets the ingredients needed for a good soup from the good people of the village… I don’t care where you get the ingredients… just get them! lol