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you can have your mandala and eat it too!

September 6, 2011

Can you keep a secret?  With all the earthquakes and floods around the world at the moment I don’t want to cause widespread panic. If I tell you will you promise not to tell anyone else? I have seen Noah’s Ark being constructed. With my own eyes!

I heard the builder of that great vessel mutter “Forty cubits by forty cubits…” as they laboured late into the evening. I watched as the two giraffe were loaded on board.

I have also seen the fate that would befall them. I have seen the heads of the animals lying with bites taken from their necks. I was witness to the wreckage after the ravenous tide had receded.

The tide of small children … their mouths filled with chocolate cake. Their eyes filled with disappointment when they come to discover that while the boat itself is delicious, the giraffe were made from royal icing and they don’t taste that great.

It was my wife who laboured into the night constructing that Ark out of chocolate cake, rolling out rainbows of royal icing and carefully forming the heads and necks of the animals that would ride aboard. Not one – but two of each!

And I swear late in the evening she did intone the words “Forty cubits by forty cubits…”

Image of a mandalaShe is quite simply amazing when it comes to cakes. Over the years she has produced a few and when she starts a cake like Noah’s Ark it becomes her singular focus. The board the cake will be presented on receives as much attention as the cake itself. And rather than being a chore it becomes, I suspect, a joyous meditation in the service of others.

The result is always magnificent.

And fleeting.

For almost as soon as it is completed it is destroyed. Completely. Consumed.

Just like the mandalas the Tibetan monks spend so long creating. Knowing that as soon as it it completed it will be destroyed.

My Noah isn’t the only person I know who makes these edible mandalas (If you are in Brisbane and need one you should check out the cakes and cards my friend Claire makes) and it makes me wonder if there are other things that we do that are similarly spiritual practices? Other ways to engage in contemplative practices that sit more comfortably in the 21st century but don’t immediately strike us as being so?

Ways that we can have our mandala … and eat it too?

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One Comment leave one →
  1. September 6, 2011 5:30 pm

    “a joyous meditation in the service of others.” Perfect! Lovely story to illustrate impermanence.

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