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  • Writer's pictureCalvin

Secret Ingredient

I’ve been getting into cooking lately at my apartment. Just simple recipes. Like pasta and rigatoni. I’m not five-star chef, nor am I trying to be. Just something that can get my juices flowing and allow me to develop a sense of self-reliance and independence.

My friend recently suggested that I add adobo spices to my recipes. He says it’s good for pretty much anything. Steaks. Pork chops. Chicken. Just add it on and it’ll taste delightful. I haven’t tried it yet, but maybe I will get a chance to someday.

In life, I also wonder what the secret ingredient actually is? What is that missing link that will allow us to find inner peace and happiness and joy forever and ever? Is there even such an ingredient?

I’ve been taking philosophy class and attending Dharma talks to learn more about the supposed Truth. The inner connection that binds us all as human beings. And it has been quite therapeutic.

I’ve also been getting into the habit of doing transcendental meditation at least once per day. To find peace within my mind. To appreciate the mundane. To practice focus and resilience. And I think that habit helps to a certain extent as well.

But there are still times during the day, when I don’t feel at my best. When I feel bogged down by the trivialities of life. I know that they are first world problems at the end of the day. But, for some reason, I still can’t help feeling like I’m down and out and vulnerable.

I guess that’s the human experience. Sometimes, you will just feel down and unmotivated and lackadaisical. There’s really no way to explain it. There’s no secret ingredient out there to help bail you out.

Granted, there are many forms of coping mechanisms that we can undertake to live a life of greater joy and contentment. And I’m glad that I’m practicing some of those mechanisms day in and day out. It’s just about keeping a level head. And not getting too up during the good times. And too down during the bad times.

Sometimes, I fall into the trap of being unproductive when I’m feeling good about myself. I feel like the world is my oyster. That I’ve done everything that I need to do. And then, I just sit back down and relax. And sometimes, this mentality can go on for an hour if I’m not careful.

There’s nothing wrong with that. But at some point, you need to be careful and realize that you’re just resting on your laurels. That you still need a jolt of energy and motivation to get you back up in the flow of things. I think that’s important day in and day out.

And I still haven’t found that elusive secret ingredient to life yet. What is it that binds all of us? What is it that can help us alleviate pain and suffering? Is there even such a thing? Or is it different under different circumstances for different people?

I guess that’s the beauty of life. Maybe some questions are just better left unanswered. Maybe it’s better that there’s no formal resolution to every single problem in the world. Maybe it’s a blessing in disguise that we sometimes experience discontent and struggle and mental challenges.

There’s no magical formula out there. We just need to live and learn. Thru accumulating experience. Thru advice from loved ones. Thru practical analysis and reflection of our own unique lives. Only then, can we experience what is peace and love and harmony and contentment and all of that other good stuff.

It’s baby steps in the right direction. I’m glad that I’m taking philosophy class, and meditation practice, and Dharma Talks, to help me find the truth. But at the end of the day, as my mom likes to point out, these practices are all simply the finger pointing at the moon. It’s not the moon in itself.

To find the moon, you’ll have to do it yourself. Practice without words. Without lectures. Without any activities or external desires. It’s something beyond that. Nothing that I can give you thru any blog post of mine, no matter how good intentioned it may be.

But seeing the finger is necessary. It is the first step towards clarification. That’s one step in the right direction. The rest of it is up to all of us to experience life in its fullest. And come up with our own determinations as to what that secret ingredient is really all about.

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