A Kingdom for a Tomato

This month we’re talking about looking mindfully and looking deeply. Many of us might think that looking deeply isn’t that hard since we spend so much time looking deeply into our past or into our future. Revisiting past events is something that so many of us unconsciously do—thinking about how we could have done or said something different or how someone hurt us. We also spend time imagining a future where we’ll have everything we ever wanted.

According to Susan, neither of these things is what looking deeply is about. Spending time thinking about the past or the future, takes us away from the now. As Susan wrote in End the Struggle and Dance With Life, “NOW is the only time we have!”

Susan’s idea of looking deeply is to see all the details that goes into everyday things, really imaging all the things that came together to make this moment just right. For Susan, she learned to look deeply while shopping at a supermarket. “There was a time in my life when I used to walk into a supermarket and be bored out of my mind. I’m sure many of you understand exactly what I am talking about! Marketing was a horrible chore I had to do before I could get to something I wanted to do…. By learning to look deeply, I was able to transform my moments of boredom in the supermarket into many exquisite moments.”

She learned to appreciate the workers who stock the shelves, the drivers who moved the goods from one place to another, the factory workers who packaged the items, even the farmworkers who planted and harvested. “When you look at the supermarket in this way, it is a monumentally large gift that we have been given. Now can you see how moments of boredom even in the supermarket can be turned into exquisite moments? A dear friend once gave me the following poem by Emily Dickinson which says it all…

As if I asked a common alms

And in my wandering hand,

A stranger pressed a Kingdom

And, I, bewildered, stand.

“We went to the market for a tomato, and when we looked deeply ‘a stranger pressed a Kingdom’ in our hand.”