Meditation is difficult. For me, anyway. I can never find a position comfortable enough to keep my mind from focusing on my discomfort. I can’t sit still. Emptying my mind of all thoughts is impossible. I can’t make myself not think about something; by trying not to think about it, I am thinking about it. Despite these distractions, I have experienced occasional and brief moments of empty mindedness; I just don’t know how I did it.
I like steel cut oats. I eat steel cut oats for breakfast most mornings. I have a high tolerance for eating the same food every day. A couple of years ago, I came across The Healthy Librarian’s blog where I found “The Oatmeal Breakfast of Champions: Spiced Pumpkin Steel Cut Oats with Berries and Chia” that became my breakfast food of choice. To cook steel cut oats from scratch requires at least thirty minutes. I discovered, though, that if steel cut oats soak overnight, cooking time is cut in half. I mix the oatmeal concoction together the night before and cook it the following morning. A double recipe makes eight servings.
At medium heat, cooking takes fifteen minutes. At the first pffft of cooking, I set the timer. I stand at the stove, stirring constantly. Oatmeal scorches quickly, if not stirred, making a mess to clean up. I stare into the pot, watching the swirling patterns formed by my wooden kitchen spoon as it keeps the oatmeal mixture in motion.
Last Monday morning the timer sounded jolting me back to mindfulness before the stove, wooden spoon in hand, stirring my steel cut oats mixture. I had no idea where I’d been. I was only aware that I had been in a state of “empty mindedness” for at least ten minutes. Well, I thought, this is like a meditation. My oat meal meditation.