Hunger is the worst of diseases ~ the Buddha

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Blueberreasoning: Poisonous Fruit in the Kitchen Sink of the Mind--& the Triple Gem Rinse

"Blueberreasoning" is the sort of thinking and overthinking--basically trying to figure it all out--that's addictive and slippery as dark little pearls, falling right through your hands into the kitchen sink of your mind.

It's just a seasonal variety of basically poisonous fruit--not accepting things right now, wanting it to be different than it is, not seeing clearly--even if  that's seeing blue and not red. There will never be another berry in July-type thinking. 

It's true I have this nifty across-the-kitchen-sink colander, and that helps with this problem to some degree. It spans the gap perfectly and holds the contents of my mind suspended, where I can rinse them to my head's content, picking them for the stones, stems & other inedible elements I've decided are unworkable.

Notice that a tool designed to help us--e.g., a sieve--can still effectively hold the fruit of the original problem--no matter how sweet it is. 

However, most tools do (at least) double duty, and this one is no exception: it's also convenient for keeping all the blueberreasoning from heading straight down into that ultimate disposal: the mashup where tongue meets head, and, bypassing the heart, creates an entirely new, unintended product which is still only more thinking.

Though my "Why have one when you can have three?" days have some years-since passed, it doesn't seem to work that way with thoughts consistently. I'm not always thoughtfully consistent with my thoughts. Not yet. 
Sometimes thinking is helpful. Say, if there's a bear in the blueberry bushes, the thought "RUN" may (quickly) occur to you--but that's a whole-body sensation, a beak to tail embodiment that tells the wings (succinctly, with no big words) to unfurl and flap fierce and far from that bush.
The thoughts I'm talking about are just in the bramble of your head, arising like gnatty, stickery, endless bushes to be plucked. 

Instead of just eating these blueberries, I'll find I'm thinking about them as individual entities, as I'm rinsing them and overrinsing them. I'm caught up in their beauty and isolated little perfections and imperfections, instead of taking them as a blue-black, mosaic whole.
And when I do this--pensive-pluck--I only feel more isolated. 
I'm wondering what to make with them, I'm stopping to dry my hands so I can photograph them, even thinking about how fast they'll go bad once they get wet and that I should freeze them so I can use them in winter, instead of just keeping my hands in it, feeling their blueberriness rinsing through me.

I don't know anyone who can eat three blueberries. The same is true with any addiction: whether it's blueberreasoning, or drinking, or thinking. 
If you love the taste, that's too little; If you loathe it, why bother?

Blueberreasoning won't get you there--no matter how sweet it feels at the time (and how utterly necessary it feels--I know, friends). It won't get you to some mythical there, but it will rob you of every purple-juicy bit of here, which is all there is.

Because I like threes of things--I always have--I make it a practice to stop and notice that number in what I'm doing, and to juice that understanding for the comfort I find in it. 
And I noticed that my son (who rarely leaves any but the most flat, odd musty berry) left these three blueberries sitting on a teeny yellow espresso saucer.

One may be the loneliest number, but three may be the one most often associated with sacred matters--Dostoevesky was fond of the number, and most people, religious or not, are familiar with The Holy Trinity. We've discussed Yoda-toed terra firma in the past, and of course the sturdy reliability of the triangle, and nothing is more stable than a three-legged kitchen stool. Buddhists are also fond of three: taking refuge in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.
I'm no Pali scholar, I'm just your source for dishtowel dharma, but I do find this practice very, very useful, and you might, too.
Tara Brach gives a much sweeter overview of this practice than I can--but here's how it works for me, in this kitchen: 

Each day, I stop, dry my hands, and recommit to giving up sweetly treacherous blueberreasoning, and I root myself in these three things:

1. the Buddha--It's possible to wake up out of the berry-blunted mind. It's actually possible to get free.
2. the Dharma--There's an ancient, wise, and well-traveled path to and from the berry bushes. There are laws to sticker-scratch suffering, and to untangling ourselves which always hold. Always. (The sky always holds--it's a promise).
3. the Sangha--there's a whole patch of people in this world dedicated to becoming thorn-free, who are not ascetics at all, but actually adore blueberries. They will help you, and actually sit at your table and trade recipes with you, and you will feel full. 

And that's all I've got for today. 
If by all, you mean that I know I can't stop at one (of anything), but I also understand that I can, in this practice, stop at three, and start again.  
Every day.

Try it--let me know if you find yourself threaping some of the same rewards.

May you be happy. May you be peaceful. May you be full. 


  1. The triple crown: heart, soul & mind. We can practice the interdependence necessary to thrive and make all the moments blueberrable.
    No berry needs to go it alone. We can let all the berries in-- three to infinity, as we learn.

  2. Thank you for this insightful comment!--I especially loved your use of "blueberrable"--just beneath the skin of it is the wonderful idea that it's in "berr-ing" ourselves to interdependence that we become truly able.