Expanding my salad theology

When I first started this blog, it was to share the spiritual lessons I learned through eating, preparing, and cooking foods. Over time, my relationship with food has changed in so many ways. We went from vegetarian to eating meat again, to slowly moving towards lactose free, gluten free kind of diet. Each one prompted by some sort of spiritual revelation or understanding. Some of the spiritual lessons I have learned have come from cooking shows like my all time favorite Chopped and reading cookbooks.

One might wonder how reading cookbooks can be spiritually enlightening, so let me give you an example, I was reading about lettuces and edible flowers in one of my favorite cookbooks, The Zen of Cooking, when I came across this list:

  1. Use whatever is fresh at the market whenever possible. It is sometimes worth giving up what you had in mind for soemthing that has come into season.
  2. Rinse, rinse, rinse. Don't use dirt as an ingredient to create that special crunch.
  3. When choosing what kind of salad you want as a part of a whole meal, think about what color, texture, and tastes will be complimentary.
  4. Consider seeking out one unique ingredient for each salad that you make.
  5. Crisp, cold, and dry may not make for a great personality, but the qualities work wonders in a salad, especially when one wants the dressing to stick to the leaves.
  6. Test your limits for possibilities by checking out one of the local salad bars that advertise 75 more selections from which to choose.

Sometimes we are so tied to the spiritual ideals we grew up with that we are not open to what is “fresh at the market.” We dismiss understandings and insights, which are new, unique, and innovative because they were not what we “had in mind.” There may be nothing wrong with what we normally buy spiritually; however, we will never know what we are missing or whether or not it will speak to us spiritually if we never even try it.

Perhaps that is why rinsing is so important. Everything we eat physically or spiritually should be rinsed off. Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, spoke once about starting with maybe. We need to rinse off the automatic acceptance or rejection of what is being offered because we have previously accepted or not accepted their teaching. When we do not rinse, we can miss some valuable teachings. For example, I have never been a huge fan of Louis Farrakhan. However, something I heard attributed to him has stayed with me for a while. He is attributed as saying “It is not uncommon for dogs to bark at the moon. They do that all the time. But you never hear the moon bark back.” Had I said no before I heard it, I would have missed this piece of wisdom. The triple rinse method, while great for all fruits and vegetables, especially greens, also helps us to begin from a position of maybe, rinsing off our immediate layers of yes dirt and no dirt. What we learn may be exactly that “special crunch” we are craving.

As we discern each piece of spiritual wisdom we are offered, we must think about how it fits in with the whole belief system we are constructing for our lives. The colors, tastes, and textures must come together as an aspect of what we believe, but also be a cohesive part of our spirituality in general. Even, if we are bound to a way of believing, is there something, which keeps us coming back, a spiritual color, taste, or texture engrained in what we are consuming spiritually. Perhaps that is why it is important to select one unique ingredient for our spiritual salad. Whether it is a scripture from a sacred text, a song we have not listened to before, a lecture, piece of art, or some other “unique ingredient,” it keeps our spirituality evolving and growing. Not sure where to go, life is one of those spiritual salad bars which offers far more then 75 items to assist you in your spiritual evolution and transformation.