"How To Cook Your Life", a movie by German film maker Doris Dörrie, calls on cookbook author and Buddhist priest Edward Espe Brown to "explain the guiding principles of Zen Buddhism as they apply to the preparation of food as well as life itself."
This movie has earned a place on my most treasured movies of all times list. It lovingly feeds the body, mind and spirit with a delicious serving of Zen wisdom, humour and human frailty. I have watched it three times and still I have nowhere near had my fill of this quiet masterpiece. It's the kind of movie (the very rare kind) that I would like to go to sleep to and wake up to and pray to and play to and laugh to and love to! It brings together the hungry, the Holy, the humorous and unashamedly human and it leaves me feeling nourished and utterly at peace.
Yesterday, when someone asked me if I ever watch movies in my garden, I replied that I couldn't imagine doing such a thing. But I would make an exception for this movie because it celebrates the sacred in my organic smelling soil and my less-than-perfect veges and my faltering attempts at companion planting and my banged up planters and broken spade.
In one sense this movie is like a meditation - calming and reverential. It presents food and its preparation as one of the most Holy things we can possibly do.
On the other hand it is funny, in an earthy organic flour kind of way, and deliciously thought provoking. Brown laughs at himself and his "low level acts of tyranny" with the uncooperative kitchen sponge. He lays out his human frailties for all to see and aspires to be like the round plump cheery teapot that continues to carry tea and serve and provide even though it is all "banged up" and dented and imperfect. In this movie we see that even after decades of practicing as a Zen priest he has imperfections and human frailties just like the rest of us.
This Zen way of honouring ourselves and others and restoring the spirit with food is set in stark juxtaposition to the processed food industry that has separated food from its distinct essence and spirit so entirely that, as Brown says, many of us now "pay a lot of money NOT to actually confront a potato"!
There is so much more to take in in this movie than I could possibly do justice to here in a few paragraphs; so many beautiful wisdom moments that I long to return to over and over and over again. I will definitely be seeking out other movies by Doris Dörrie.
“The God-stuff roars eternally, like the sea, with too vast a sound to be heard”
If we don’t know what our life purpose is there is nowhere else to look for it but within ourselves. The greater the sense of connection we have with our God-stuff the more likely it will be that we will be guided to uncover our life purpose and unique mission in life.
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