One time I went to this restaurant in Redmond, Wa. It was a little hole in the wall place that had been there forever. But it smelled like an Italian place, you know? Those certain ingredients that when mixed just so, make a space smell like an Italian joint. I had been there many times before and usually ordered gnocchi.
But this time, for some reason, I ordered the Lasagna. He told me it would take 30 minutes to prepare, so I ordered wine and sat back and waited.
When it arrived it was in this white dish, it was bubbling, and the steam fudged up my glasses. But I inhaled, and in that inhalation knew I had found the answers to all my prayers.
Almost like a slow motion movie I picked up my fork, licked my lips, dug into the cheesy wonderfullness of the pie and brought it all hot and bubbling to my lips. I inhaled again, deeply, feeling the acid in my stomach getting ready to greedily devour what I was about to undertake.
And then I did it. I took a bite. Eyes closed. Shoulders relaxed. It was me, the chair, the fork, the table and the most amazing lasagna I had ever had the pleasure to gorge on (slowly and purposefully of course.)
Can you feel me here? I mean it just wasn’t your average run of the mill experience with food. It was breath-takingly delicious. It melted into my soul.
I finished the whole thing. Of course I did.
And I waited a month. A month I waited to return to Mecca and order the lasagna again. A month that lasted a year. I never forgot about the way it made my body feel to just smell it, let alone taste it. And on the anniversary of our first meeting I returned to this hole in the wall joint, armed with a book and ready to wait…I would wait an hour, or even two to have this manna.
And it came…it was bubbling and sizzling in it’s virginal white dish. It steamed my glasses and when I brought it to my mouth to take a bite…something was different.
It was just good Lasagna. There was no magic. None.
I was deflated. I felt swindled. I wish I had known this was just a one time thing because I would have frozen it and just had one bite a month, savoring it and allowing it to stay, knowing I could find it whenever I needed to taste it.
This is what enlightenment really looks like. The memory of perfect Lasagna. The reality of good Lasagna.
Let me give you another example if I may.
Have you had an orgasm? Solo or with another, or many others if you are so inclined… You know how you go about life with all your partners and sometimes you come and sometimes you don’t (If you’re a woman) and some are good, really good. And some are great. And some…meh.
And then, out of the blue when you are least expecting it, this energy fills up inside you. It’s this pulsating rhythm of life and it’s growing from a hidden compartment you didn’t even know you had. And you just know that there is nothing that can stop this from happening. This energy is going to roar out of you if he changes his rhythm or not. And then, like the grace of God, you cum. But this orgasm eclipes all other orgasms. It’s almost like you never came before. It’s almost like you THOUGHT you were having all these orgasms your whole sexual life, but they were just little county fairs, not a huge Barnam and Bailey explosion of awsomeness.
So you can’t wait to have sex again….and you look for that secret chamber where this turbo amazing orgasm is stored and in doing so you miss what’s actually happening and in the end perhaps don’t even come at all, since you were so preoccupied trying to make this mega earth shaker come back. And you dive into this sorta gasm-induced depression, like starvation…and wonder if that was just a fluke and it will never happen again….not like that…it’s back to run of the mill body explosions.
This is also what enlightenment looks like.
Still not feeling me? Do I need to draw better conclusions because all you can think about is food and fucking?
So much for artistry….gone are the days of innuendo and poetry I tell you…
There is no such thing as enlightenment.
Let me say it again so it’s crystal clear. There is no such thing as ENLIGHTENMENT. There is such a thing as the journey towards said huge overused word.
Yes, I know what I’m saying and I offer my mouth-wateringly perfect lasagna and the orgasm I had in 1999 and never again since as evidence, that even after you reach a state of utter perfection…life goes back to fucking normal.
You go to the grocery store and fill up on food. You go home and do what? Eat all the food. Then you have to go back to the grocery store. It’s not done. You don’t have food forever. It’s a process, a journey.
Yes of course we grow and change and plod along. Yes we have days that rock the free world where no one can stop us, and days where we have to get peeled off the pavement. That’s called life. And enlightenment isn’t some static gateway you walk through, like the Spinx’s from Never Ending Story.
It’s a process, and it can’t be mapped. So sometimes you guess wrong and take the path away from it, and sometimes you guess right and take a step towards it. But away from and towards are still leading to the same place, a place you will never achieve because it’s actually about the journey….but you are making a really lovely dance.
It’s every moment in my dance that led me to the restaurant at that time, with the willingness to explore something new in the moment. It’s every moment that led me to this boy and lowered all my defenses so I could connect in an truly, deeply, authentically gorgeous way. But then I moved on, and had new experiences in life and have huge awakenings in them as well….they just aren’t as fun to talk about as food and sex.
So i guess what I’m saying is that Enlightenment is more like a hugely complicated twister game.
Sometimes your hand and feet leave you standing and celebrating. And sometimes, they leave you on your ass, defeated, for a moment. But either way, you are still on the path towards enlightenment….which I guess makes you perfect in every moment.
And yes, I will never give up the search for lasagna made of manna. Never. And I will also never stop hoping to have that orgasm I found in 1999 on the reg. And perhaps I will circle back to both at some point, but this time I will sit with each of them longer and appreciate the living hell out of them before they travel onward…