A Paradox

One may only get that which he is willing to let go of.

The cool water of the running stream may be scooped up with

open, overflowing palms.

It cannot be grasped up to the mouth

with clenching fists,

no matter what thirst motivates

our desperate grab.

Sheldon Kopp, The Buddha Book

The implications of this truth are vast, in physics, relationships, personality, character, and –most important and urgent — politics and public policies. We Americans ignore it at our peril.

(I urge everyone to take a look at page 62 of the Summer 2011 catalog of Penzeys Spices, of all things. Not necessarily to order spices! — although I use lots of Penzeys spices myself — but to read Bill Penzey’s “One for the Road” with which he concludes every issue of the catalog. His is an extraordinary statement, and the cooking stories of contributors, which always appear in every issue, are extraordinary this time as well. Here are real people of Wisconsin — in their own unfiltered voices.)

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7 Responses to A Paradox

  1. Stef says:

    We have Penzeys here, too. Which spice is your favorite?


    • Touch2Touch says:

      For its name? Obviously the Tsarina is a fan of Tsardust Memories (but not so much on the table).
      The Ancho Chile Powder is great, and their cinnamons are terrific. In general, I think the quality is very high, although I prefer straight spices/herbs to blends.
      And you?


      • Stef says:

        I’m a fan of their Bankok blend; but truly, I know there are scads of their spices and blends I would adore, if I had the money/time/energy to try them all. 🙂


  2. Pauline says:

    I’m obviously missing out since I don’t have a Penzey’s Spices catalog but as for grasping and grabbing and holding tight to that which one wants – it seems to be working for the 1%…

    I think perhaps it’s WHAT we try to hold onto and the reasons for holding onto it hat are as important as the concept of holding too tight. Like the issues you’ve been raising, it’s complicated!


    • Touch2Touch says:

      Pauline, you bring out something that’s been bothering me about my post — I’m not sure I ‘m clear and direct enough. It isn’t about enlightenment, or spices.
      It’s about the grabbing and grasping and selfishness that’s coming to characterize our American society ; and how alien that is to our reality, or our history, or our ideals.

      Penzeys catalog is linked here (you can just click on the link and page through to Bill Penzey’s “editorial”) so we can all hear what Wisconsin businessman Bill Penzey is saying, publicly, in his company’s catalog about America and Americans. He restores my faith in my fellow Americans after Wisconsin’s shocking repudiation of working men and bargaining and teachers— TEACHERS!!!!!— and the tacit repudiation of compassion and compromise. Here’s plain speaking at its best, reinforced by the many people from Wisconsin whose cooking stories are interspersed in the catalog pages —
      Their cooking stories are also their life stories, and their philosophies, and their values. And like I say — I found it restorative. Maybe I need to say this flat out, instead of leaving it tacit.


  3. pauline says:

    Your reply to my comment raises some other issues. Americans like to think (I think) that as a nation we have high ideals and we all not only support those ideals but carry them out. We’re weaned on America the Great. Our history books tend to idealize America and its policies. But we have a Bill of Rights that as often as not our politicians and corporate heads try to circumvent. How are we so different from the countries that rob their poor to support the rich or suppress the minorities while paying lip service to freedom or control the press or wage war based on lies and greed? How are our insurance giants and corporations that knowingly pollute our air and water or cheat in a variety of devious ways better than countries that ignore their people’s needs? I know there are American citizens who support free speech, who champion the downtrodden, who work tirelessly for the unfortunate, but unless we unite, unless we are willing to challenge our elected officials, our own selves even, to promote more than material wealth or prominent staus, we will never be other than what we are. And how do you unite such a disparate people? Where do you find common ground among religious fanatics, gun rights activists, fundamentalists, birthers, gay activists, Tea Partiers, Democrats, Republicans. Independents, people who belive in Climate Change and those who vehemently deny it? Aside from helping others in the wake of major tragedies, when do we come together as a people united in wanting what’s best for all? Is that even possible?

    Now, I’m climbing down off my misanthropic soapbox and going off to read the article that instilled you with hope because I realize I don’t have much!


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