For years, I have wanted to make a soufflé and never did because I had always heard how challenging it was. I had even heard professional chefs talk about how hard it is to get the perfect soufflé, so I let my fear keep me from ever trying. What I have learned is that making a soufflé is like a spiritual journey. There are times that it collapses or does not rise, but generally it is when you have not done something. The same without spiritual journeys, generally it is when we are not doing something or we stop working on our journeys that we begin to collapse and we do not rise in the face of a challenge.
The foundation of every soufflé is the base. You make a base, you fold in whipped egg whites and you bake it. You can make your soufflé savory or sweet, but the basics are the same. If you follow some basic tips, your soufflé will always come out light and airy.
The same is true in some sense in our spiritual lives. If we do not have a spiritual base, regardless of what that base is, we will not grow and evolve. We will like a poorly made soufflé collapse and not rise.
One of the secrets to have having strongly whipped egg whites is to add some acid. Simply adding a little lemon juice or cream of tartar strengthens the structure of your egg whites and makes them stronger over time. Adding spiritual practices to our lives can strengthen and balance us in our spiritual journeys. What that “acid” is for you and your journey is for you to determine or to discern with the help of a spiritual director/partner. However, not working on strengthening your spiritual life can mean that you do not have what it takes to rise in all circumstances.
Another secret I was told was never to overfold your egg whites into the base. You want to fold them gently until the whites disappear. I was told that people tend to think they have undermixed their soufflés, but they have not. The same is true for adding a spiritual practice into your life. You do not have to rapidly add it, but slowly work on integrating these new practices into your life.
The third secret was to make sure you bring your eggs to room temperature. Cold egg whites are harder to whip then warm ones and they don’t elevate the base as much. As I thought about this I realized that spiritually we have to be ready and willing to integrate new practices in our life. When we are, they will integrate and blend in much easier than if we are doing so out of a sense of obligation.
The fourth secret is to level off the top of your soufflé. I was told you do not have to do this, but when you take the time to start with a level soufflé, it will rise in a way that seems almost magical. It does not affect the taste or the texture, just the appearance. Sometimes we too need to level off so that we can rise more evenly. When we do not give ourselves time to level off in our journeys we can still rise however, we may not appear to have as strong a base as we do.
Finally, I was told use the bottom rack. Baking on the bottom helps the soufflé to rise. When I was told this, I realized how rarely I ever put anything on the bottom rack or give thought to what rack I am putting things on. Like an oven, how we integrate and the level at which we are able to integrate spiritual practices in our life depends on how committed we are to allowing this practice to become a part of our daily lives. How much room do we give ourselves to evolve and transform?