Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Peanut Butter Jar

Cleaning out the peanut butter jar is a solitary pleasure. I liken it to
a sort of zazen where you sit in silence and savor the flavor and then
ker-plunk...into the trash goes the empty jar.

For some reason, cleaning out the jar with a teaspoon is a favorite
memory of mine. No matter how old you get or how many steaks you may
have eaten, the last couple of tablespoons of peanut butter in the jar
are magical. They must be garnered from each side, the bottom and around
the rim. They taste slightly grainy and always like...more. But alas,
the jar will yield up no more and it is thrown away with a sigh.
Meditation is like that.

Sitting with the basic staple of one’s ego is at last delicious when all
hope of enlightenment has been given up. You realize that when you first
took the top off of the jar, the peanut butter had a glaze and a sheen
that beckoned. “Look everyone, it’s me. Aren’t I swell?” But then many
spoons dipped into the jar and before you know it, the jar was almost
empty. Everyone had left and you sat alone with your essential self
intact. Just you and the lowly spoon.

When all is said and done, cleaning out the peanut butter jar should
never be done by experts or those who would give it a media spin. No,
let us do it alone and in silence, as if God Himself were waiting for
the next bite, or lick. In that moment of supreme ecstacy, would He
reveal Himself to you or would He just gently say, “No thanks, you
finish it.”

--Vicki Woodyard


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