Of Scrambled Eggs and Reason

I begin by warming the skillet to about medium heat–about 4.5 on the digital indicator on my smooth-top range. Just enough coconut oil to glaze the bottom of the pan.

Alton Brown taught me to never break my eggs directly into the pan, so while my skillet is heating, I break them into a small bowl and whisk them together thoroughly, adding only a tablespoon or so of room temperature water.

The moment I pour the eggs into the hot pan, I begin gently stirring and folding them with a wooden spatula, adding my seasonings as I do so; coarse ground black pepper, fine sea salt, just a very little masa for texture and a southwest flair, stirring and folding all the while. Within moments, they’re fluffy, tender, and ready to eat, and when I serve them, I may put just a small spoonful of salsa verde on the plate next to my delicious breakfast.

Scrambled eggs are an art form all to themselves, and the way one person likes them will have very little in common with their neighbor’s recipe. That doesn’t make the neighbor wrong.

One of the great difficulties the human race seems to face is the inability (or unwillingness) to consider differing viewpoints as equally valid. We highlight and rail at the differences instead of welcoming the variety and diversity of alternative opinions and beliefs. We see this in everything from religion and politics to hair color and body shape. We may not feud over scrambled egg recipes, but we’ll damn sure go to war over differences which don’t seem a hell of a lot more profound than that.

The ancient Sufi poet Tilopa implored us to “Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing”. While I have read a great number of rebuttals of this philosophy, primarily from one religion or another, I still cling to it in times of confusion. On the surface, it can be read (and often is) as if he is telling us to deconstruct our beliefs and live an anarchic life, but upon contemplation, one can come to realize that, like any true wisdom, Tilopa’s advice can be interpreted in many ways, which is clearly true to the very spirit of the quote.

When I re-read this timeless quote, I don’t see anarchy and anti-religious fervor, I see inclusiveness and kindness. I envision in this simple sentence the cessation of conflict. I hear humanity engaging in conversation rather than arming for battle. I feel the power of diversity and compassion swelling to encompass the world.

Judgment.   Condemnation. Criticism. Most of us, myself included, do these things instinctively and without conscious thought.   The tendency to fall back on these old patterns and then justify them rather than simply stopping is endlessly destructive. We destroy relationships, we crush self esteem and independence in our children, we dismantle trust and common ground. And we injure ourselves far worse than anyone else when we poison our outlook and our vision with darkness. For while we can control no other soul’s behavior, we are 100% in control of how we allow them to affect our own worlds. Our reactions are under our control. If we react with gentility and an open mind, then the only failure is the failure to create tension and conflict, which can only be seen as a win in my book.

I’ll make you my eggs, and I’d love to taste yours.

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