Meditation isn’t the first thing that jumps to mind when you think of manliness. Typically, you think of grilling, shining your shoes, cleaning your gun, maybe makin’ whoopee with some foxy broad. Nice. That’s what we think about, too. But, what you might not realize is that meditation is a much broader concept than hippy dippies not getting their haircut while sitting quietly on a yoga mat. In fact, it’s perfectly within the boundaries of meditation to do the manly things listed above (and many others) meditatively. You don’t even have to wear lycra bicycle shorts. But you can, if you want.
First, real quick, let’s just get in your head how meditation is supposed to feel. The best way to do that (read: quickest) is not to send you into the mountains to ponder Zen koans about grains of rice for a decade. It’s to use some very simple imagery. When you’re meditating, you’re not thinking about anything. That sounds easier than it is. What you want, is for your brain to feel like a snow globe where the snow is all settling down and you can finally see the happy little snowman. If that’s unclear, take a moment and see how meditation is just like drinking water.
Some people will argue that you can’t stop thinking completely – that you can only clear your mind most of the way. That seems pretty nitpicky to us, so what we’re going to say, is the way to make these activities meditative is to just do them. As in, do them, and do nothing else and think of nothing else. You will, in a pretty real way, be one with your burger.
For the purposes of illustration, let’s say you’re making burgers on the grill. You’re going to want to season and otherwise prepare the meat before throwing it into the fire. Focus on the texture of the meat, and the scent of the seasonings. Let those sensations overwhelm you. Unfocus your mind, become like Ben Stiller in Tropic Thunder, until they are the only things in your consciousness.
TIP: If you find your mind wandering, if you accidentally leave the moment and start thinking about which beer will go best with this burger, how you ought to grill the bun, or what you’re going to do in the morning, don’t get frustrated. Just observe your wandering thoughts like you might observe a stray onion slice, and quietly and calmly bring your thoughts back to grilling.
Focus, now, on the heat of the grill. Envision the heat being transferred from the flames to the metal of the grill and then radiating through your burger, slowly. Imagine the heat cooking the spices into the burger, and envision the flavor slowly permeating each pore, nook and cranny as the burgers near completion. Continue embracing this imagery until your patty reaches nirvana (in our opinion, that’s medium rare).
Presentation is half the meal, but in the article, it accounts for only one third of your meditative experience while preparing a cheeseburger. When you’re arranging your burger, you’ll want to concentrate on achieving a state of designed asymmetry, or zenchaos, that is a perfectly imperfect burger. “Wtf does that mean,” you seem to say. We know, right? Weird. Think of it this way: the most perfect thing you can do is just go with the flow, so to speak. So, when you stack your patty, your cheese, your bacon, and whatever else you want, try to embrace the imperfect, asymmetrical nature of it. Think about how your burger is going to fall together in the most balanced way, naturally. Hopefully, by the time you’re biting into your burger, you’ll feel that way about your day-to-day life, too.