What Would the Buddha Say?

In the beginning of 2017 I took over the operation of a pay-what-you-can vegan lunch café here in the heart of meat-and-potatoes Midwest America. On December first, I gave myself a daily blogging challenge to write about this café, to tell its story, and maybe figure out a little of my own story in the process. This is Post #20.


The desire to make the thing more than it is. That’s what being in business is all about, no? To see your brainchild — or your adopted brainchild, in this case — grow big and strong, to serve more, to be more.  To fulfill its potential. All that sounds so right.

And yet.

The urge to grow your whatever into something else — something more — can interfere with the ability to see what is. To constantly ask for more is to deny the thing you’re working its intrinsic logic, its own arc of existence.

Letting the café tell me what it wants to be, what it needs to be, is my challenge right now.

If this business is a brainchild, I need to treat it with the respect I would give an actual child. It has its own reason for being. It is an organic thing, a relationship, as I’ve said elsewhere, between me and these tools at my disposal and the people who are my customers. All inputs matter. The fact that I decide gives me the option to listen, to avoid autocratic fiat and pay attention to what is being asked of me by all involved.

Including the business itself. To do otherwise is to impose my expectations, my constructed timeline, on this fluid, organic thing. Which is sort of like dismissing the  child for being a child, and imposing upon them my own vision of the fully articulated adult they may someday become.

And aren’t we all forever becoming? Isn’t everything?

Vision matters. Yes. That’s why I want to move slowly. So the scenery doesn’t fly by, so I don’t miss what’s right in front of me while I admire the view in the distance.

Can I be satisfied with what is, and still want more? What would the Buddha say?

This is what I’m pondering.

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