How my love for falafel and a broken bicycle chain gifted me the opportunity to think about clarity and meditation.


That day I got invited by a friend to a sweet potato, tomato, coconut soup (just realising that day was full of deliciousness; I feel blessed!). After finishing our lunch, my friend took me for an extended stroll around his district of Berlin, showing me some sweet spots. For the evening we enlisted to a gentle yoga session with restorative exercises on top. Post yoga I felt refreshed, hungry and at the same time a little introverted. So it was time for me to find my way home. I said good bye, swung on my bike and took off.

From the start I realised something was wrong with my bike. The chain slipped through almost every pedal stroke. “This sucks.”, I thought. I cycled as soft as possible and made about as fast progress as a turtle on the beach. I didn’t want to throw in the towel just yet and dreamed of my falafel love. I was hungry and on my way I already saw this beauty of a meal in my hands. Only problem: “I probably won’t make it to the top of the hill with my bike after i have my take away delight. Ahhh what the heck, let’s try.”. 

So on to my favourite falafel shop. I like it not only for the food, but also because they don’t sell to anyone with a phone in their hand. I had to wait a little, but I received a real beauty. When the owner packed it up for take away I told him that it is a real pity, because it is a piece of art he had produced and the packaging will ruin it a little. He smiled at me and said thank you. After paying, the hill was the only thing in between me and my dinner. At least so I thought. The moment I turned the paddle the chain fell off completely. In my imagination I saw myself fixing the chain, becoming dirty, still not being able to cycle up the hill and home. Then by the time I were home my food was cold and soaked. So I decided to not force anything, take the hint and surrender. “Who knows what it is good for…” I thought.

I sat down at a free table and while making out with my dinner I overheard the conversation of two young man at the table next to mine. They were talking about what they will buy with their first salary, how one of them does not like rooms that are messy and so on. From what I heard they definitely are not on the look out for meditation, so I was curious what they think about it. I didn’t feel like rushing and steering things up. I wanted to enjoy my dinner. I hoped for two things: 

  1. Please stay until I am finished with my love making, I mean dining
  2. Please let me come up with a way to start the conversation, while not putting them on the spot or in an uncomfortable position.

Number 2 was the thing in my control and I thought “well I have my flyers with me, so I could give them one.”. When I was done and they were still conversing at the other table I kindly asked them if I could interrupt them for a moment. They nodded. I got out my flyers (I have eight kinds, each carrying a different message) and asked them to look through them and tell me if one of them speaks to them. I was delighted when both of them found two each. So I gifted each the one they liked most. I was about to say good bye when one of them said, you know I didn’t meditate yet, but can I really bring more clarity into my life with meditation? I paused and thought about it. Of course a fair and valid question, when my flyer says “Bring more clarity into your life and try meditation.”. I didn’t think about it, when I wrote it down it was an absolute truth, it was a given to me. He caught me, I replied “well not after one session, but over time sure”. With that I left them. Only some days later when I thought about his question again I came up with an authentic answer. What I should have said was the following. 

I feel meditation or more specific attaining clarity through meditation is like learning juggle. You don’t expect to juggle three balls the first time you try it. You practice and over time certainly you will collect experiences that you’d be amazed of. You’ll juggle first two balls. Then you learn to juggle three and when you’ll make it for two rounds before you lose a ball you’ll experience great joy and other times you will be frustrated, because you couldn’t even throw and catch the first ball. One day however you will be ready to do it without any trouble at all.

It is similar with gaining clarity through meditation. You won’t become 100 % clear about everything, the first time you meditate. Over time however you will collect experiences that you will be grateful for. One of my teachers calls them clicks. Moments of understanding. Moments of absolute clarity. Moments when you are just feeling like “Why didn’t I see that before?”. 

So in my opinion clarity is not a result of meditation but clarity is something you can experience during meditation. Forcing clarity, expecting clarity won’t get you there, however when you release your expectations you will collect a lot of beautiful experiences. These moments will help you develop, know yourself better, understand more. 

In our instant society this one might be a tough one to swallow. Things take time. Full-stop. 

Stay tuned for more thoughts on meditation. Leave a comment, send me an email. I love to hear from you. 

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  1. 1
    Jennifer

    Thank you Oliver for such a beautiful detailed story, I love how you narrated your experience. Often times we push so hard for answers and expectations when it comes to meditation. The key thing is to dive into your breath and release all resistance. Allow yourself to be present in your body and surrender to each present moment. I wish you so much success and keep spreading your light and love.

    • 2
      oliver

      Thank you for your kind words Jennifer! I couldn’t agree more, focusing on your breath and surrendering to what is, is important in developing a strong meditation practice.

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