Zen and the Art of Today

Zen and the Art of Today

Today, my bowl of oatmeal may have been my best.

I was patience, stirring the pot, slowly lowering the flame until it flickered off. I was not in a hurry. I did not sleep well last night but waited until the alarm that is set for no reason other than habit.

I had patience and could only remember that like now, my patience is killing me.

I could think only of a snowy morning in Germany where two train tracks crossed, not in a town or village but just at a point in snowy fields where train lines chose to cross. There were two shelters. It was cold and I stood in one waiting to transfer to the next train to my ultimate destination. I wrote in my journal that I was patient and that it was a good thing. A black US soldier in a white winter uniform, smoked white puff clouds against the white and I would not have noticed him in the other shelter if he had not stomped his feet in the cold of a snowy German winter morning.

It seemed that in a few minutes he was gone and I don’t remember a train coming. He was gone.

It is now forty years later and with the exception of my oatmeal, I think my patience, my ability to wait patiently is killing me. While I stirred, I thought back on all that I had waited for and unlike the train that morning, things, people events never came until I moved on. My patience is wearing thin and even now I will not have control and I will be forced to move on.

But for a moment, setting aside what will be to what is, I decided to not add my walnuts and cinnamon and maple flavored sugar-free syrup until the oatmeal was in my bowl and only then would I mix it in.

That is different than other mornings.

Like the patience of stirring slowly and reducing the flame until it was out and enjoying what maybe my best bowl of oatmeal, this morning is different. But I am confused this morning because patience made a wonderful breakfast, but it is also killing me and it brought me to this point where I had a night where I could not sleep.


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