Now most of us are drifting far away from cooking every day as more and more ready to cook or ready to eat options are available. There are far more eateries and restaurants that were there a decade back. The food business is one of the industries growing at a very fast rate.
As the families became smaller and women started participating in the workforce, the cooking started to look more like an extra activity that should be avoided if possible. Everyone wants to use the time otherwise spent in cooking for more useful pursuits like more working hours in the office. More working hours mean more money, a better job, promotions and so on and so forth. Cooking became completely dispensable as compared to the latter because cooking for the family was not earning you anything. In many western countries, people now prefer to eat out. Cooking is applicable more to restaurant chefs than to anyone else.
Their change was not completely wrong. Initially, as women started working, they had petty jobs with a small income. They could devote enough time to their jobs as well as their household work. But as women started getting better and more time-consuming work, cooking and household took a back seat and cooking suffered.
Most of us face stress because we have lost the experience of basic survival. We unconsciously depend on more and more possessions in order to live. And most of our time is consumed to acquiring and maintaining the same. Unfortunately, now most of these requirements are superficial and complicated. For example, a second car, a larger house with an extra guest room(even when there is no one to visit us), an expensive trendy dress etc. etc.
We have lost touch with reality. A person can live his full life in a few hours’ time inside a video game but the reality is not like that. When a kid brought up in the world of mobile phone, video games and television is exposed to the real world where one has to work with his/her own hands, where it takes time to cook food and eat it with his own hands, wash his own clothes etc., he might get a rude shock. Most of the people bought up in a virtual world employ most of their time and energy to acquire enough resources so that they can escape the real world. We want a dish-washer, washing machine, automatic cooking systems to save more time. This saved time we will then spend in front of the TV or mobile phone. This orientation is making us oblivious of the world around us and more and more self-absorbed, self-centred. We want more resources to preserve our ignorance.
Anxiety, stress, anger, greed and all most all the mental vices emerge from this state of preserved ignorance. Our desires become unreal, when they are not fulfilled we get angry and stressed. This unreal world creates a secret fear of the unknown.
Cooking is not a woman’s or homemaker’s job. Cooking is an essential process for human survival.
In ancient traditions, was considered to be a pious or religious exercise. In ancient Indian culture, it is compulsory for the cook to be peaceful and happy while cooking a meal. Also, one should refrain from eating or cooking when anxious, sad or angry. It was believed that the negative energy of the cook is absorbed in the food and reaches the consumers.
Recent experiments on the concept of water memory confirm the same. Water kept in a certain atmosphere and exposed to different kinds of prayers and music confirm that even water absorb the negative and positive vibrations.
This is probably the reason why people would eat in religious gatherings and the food was considered to be divine. At the same time, it was considered inauspicious to eat in the local eateries as the cook might have mind on his mind while cooking. It is supposed to drastically change the quality of the food. Also, earlier it was considered inauspicious to eat in the house of a corrupt person because the quality of earned money will attract food ingredients with bad vibrations and such food will bring bad luck and ill health.
Therefore cooking as important as a religious ritual and should be treated as such. For most of us, because of a hectic lifestyle, cooking is akin to defrosting a frozen meal or assembling a ready to eat a meal. Or throw in some ingredients in a pot. Most of the cooking is thoughtless and soulless. It creates more restlessness and anxiety. So it is there an exponentially growing spiral of mindless cooking and increased stress.
Mindful cooking is something that you can practice. It will result in 2 benefits at the same time – the practice of mindfulness and soulfully tasty food.
Imagine yourself cooking a simple vegetable curry. As you wash the vegetables, be aware of the dirt and how the water is removing the dirt. This vegetable is getting ready to be incorporated into a higher life form. It is going from plant life to human life.
These are some of the ideas. You can have your own interpretations. Gradually these interpretations will make you more aware of the work that you are doing. Careful observation will become a habit. It will happen with natural childlike awe that we had once we were toddlers.
Some ideas and interpretations of small acts of life help us realize the abundance of already existing meaning in life, rather than going in an endless futile search for it. The essence of life is to “know thyself” and not to “make thyself”. Ancient proverbs and precepts very beautifully convey the great philosophies of life. For example, there is ancient Indian saying – karat karat abhyas ke Jada mati hoye sujana, rasari aavata jata hi Sil par parat nisa. The proverb means that through constant practice, even a dull mind can become sharp, like the way even a soft rope can make a mark on the stone by constant rubbing. (Rope of the well can make a permanent mark on the stone wall of the well). Now, thousands of people must have used the rope for pulling water out of the well, but one in millions with an aware mind can observe a philosophy on a stone wall.
Another proverb from Kabir says that the ones who go in the deep waters are able to get the pearls, but the people who keep sitting on the shore out of fear of drowning, get nothing. These simple sayings underline the wisdom that the eternal truth is all around us if only we are able to absorb it. Mindfulness can make simple things in our lives more meaningful. Such a life is incidentally peaceful and happy.
This blog aims to bring out some of the subtle beautiful thoughts that are woven in our daily chores.
Coming up by 4th Sep 2020