Moments of clarity come at unexpected times, usually when we’re temporarily distracted from the grasping and striving of the daily grind. These moments come upon us suddenly, and for a few seconds or more, everything just seems to fall in to place and make sense, almost indescribably so.
One of these moments graced my presence just yesterday, while I was eating a mango, of all things.
I was sitting outside, around a table with my wife and her parents. They were discussing some family affairs, to which I was listening, but not intently. We were sharing some food and enjoying cool drinks in the shade while the sun shone down. The birds were tweeting in the trees that overhang the quiet side street, and kids took turns riding a bike up and down. It was peaceful and calm.
Earlier that day I had bought some mangoes, and while the family was engaged in conversation, I decided to grab a knife and peel one of these enticing fruits.
As I carefully stripped the fruit, I unwittingly phased out from the conversation. I couldn’t hear anyone speaking, but would only be conscious of this once I came around. I was hypnotically engaged in delicately peeling each strip of skin from the fruit. Watching the knife seamlessly release the fruit from the skin, my mind must have blanked out everything in life except that moment.
I finished peeling and began carving strips from the fruit, eating then slowly, one by one. Like a sculptor I artistically worked my way around the core, taking care not to squeeze too hard to prevent any juice escaping the vessel.
As I weaved in and out with the knife I became consumed by a moment of clear seeing. All of a sudden it dawned on me just how perfect this mango was. Every inch of this fruit was just as it should be. In fact, it couldn’t be any more perfect. Its succulent, sweet taste, its compact structure, its juicy, soft texture; I wouldn’t want to change a thing about this mango.
This thought process began to spiral through my mind, so much so that I began to question whether this mango more perfect than me? In comparing myself to this mango my imperfections became abundantly obvious, and if I peeled away my skin I very much doubt I’d look as enticing as this fraction of nature’s bounty.
I thought deeper.
I am so much older than this mango, and if I were to leave this mango one day longer, it too would look a little rough round the edges. But then, it isn’t just one stage of the cycle that is perfect, it’s the cycle in its entirety, I thought. This mango is supposed to rot, as am I. And every stage of that process is absolutely perfect, timed with precision and executed effortlessly by nature.
For these brief moments, everything made absolute sense. Like the mango, all I have to do is just be; nature will take care of the rest. Birth, growth, death; it’s all one of the same thing – a sequence of perfect moments, strung together to create a perfect cycle.
My wife woke me from my hypnotic moment of clarity; “Are you enjoying that?” Her parents laughed along at my childlike engrossment in the fruit. Oops, I thought, I forgot to share my mango with anyone else at the table.