Meditations on a Piece of Fruit
Looking deeply at my food as I slowly and consciously consume it, I see and taste and hear and feel and smell a sweet morsel, lovingly produced through much kind work. I see the sun, the water and the nutrients that exist in this bit of food. I see as well the beings who harvested the fruit, packed it, transported it to me, then cut it into pieces and placed it into a bowl in the kitchen next to the dining hall where I now sit so I could chose a piece to consume. I see that this beautiful piece of fruit and everything that went into making it nurtures my body and my mind.
And I also see and taste a bitterness – the suffering my need to consume a tropical fruit in the mountains of Colorado has caused. I see that this pineapple was picked by laborers in Central America who work for subsistence wages, that the corporate owners of the monocultural plantation where the pineapple was grown profit greatly from my consumption, but at the expense of the workers. I see the profits do not benefit the community where the fruit is grown, but enrich the foreign owners of the plantation. I see my consumption is tied to clear cutting precious forests to make room for the pineapple plantation and that this harms the earth, displaces indigenous peoples and enslaves them. I see that that my consumption displaces animal and plant species and in some measure even contributes to their demise. I see pineapples shipped by air and then trucked to me, which unnecessarily contributes pollutants to the earth, air and water, and in some measure, I am consuming those pollutants along with the sweet fruit.
If, when I consume, I feel only joy and see only the sweetness, I do not truly see. For there is great suffering that accompanies the sweetness. I realize this is true of everything. If we look deeply enough, sweetness and sorrow, joy and suffering do not exist separately from one another. Each exists only with and because of the other. They are inseparable. As I return to the fruit in my mouth, my joy at the sweetness is balanced by my sorrow at the bitterness. Now I do not know if I should smile or cry as I eat this fruit. Perhaps I must do both.
I am deeply honored that this short work has been accepted to be published in the Mindfulness Bell Magazine in early 2016.