About a block away from my home is an orange field run by local farmers that sells a huge bag of oranges for $5. The look of the oranges is hideous. Even after washing, the oranges come off dirty, with uneven skin, and flawed. But when I eat the inside… it’s the sweetest orange I’ve ever tasted. What’s funny is that I’ve gone to farmer’s markets, organic markets, and even non-organic markets to find the sweetest fruit, and no matter what they look like on the outside, I can never tell (without cutting it open and tasting it) if it’s going to be sweet or not… Have you ever got stuck buying a bunch of fruit that looked delicious and none of it tasting any good?
That famous cliche “it’s not what’s outside, but what’s inside that counts”. We all know it and say it, but do we really “know” it? When we talk about what’s “inside” what are we actually talking about? Our character? Our values? If we’re nice or not? If it’s not our bodies that matter, but what’s inside us that matters, what exactly is that thing inside us that matters? Let’s be honest. Is anyone’s “insides” truly perfectly wonderful and sweet? Sadly, I don’t think I’m alone when I say that more often than not what we often find on the inside is NOT a kind, humble, generous, compassionate amazing human being, but an insecure person in some way- a person who suffers and struggles and, like all human beings, makes tons of mistakes. So if that’s what matters, then I’m not sure either of the two are an ideal “thing” to put all our attention on.
What if what matters, isn’t either of those (neither or body or mind), but something we totally overlooked? We get so distracted with what we look and feel like inside and outside that we completely forget about the possibility that…maybe…we’re still just picking at the surface. We’re obsessing about the peel of the fruit, and totally missing the real sweetness…
Yesterday, a good friend of mine sent me a video of Sadhguru, who spoke of life as we know it as simply the peel of the fruit. He spoke of the surface of life being our body and mind, and the basis of our life being something beyond our immediate five senses. Take for example when we die: Our body and mind are gone, yet our loved ones are grieving us. What is it they were grieving? No one cares about the dead body or the dead organs inside. Yes, while on Earth we have to feed our body and take care of it, but the only reason the peel of the fruit means anything to anyone is because of the fruit it carries inside of it. And so it goes with our own lives, we get so obsessed with the peel that we completely forget about the fruit!
Sadhguru said, “If you are eating the peel of life, how would life be? It would be bitter! The problem with the peel is that it has spots of sweetness in it.” The little chunks of sweetness in the peel are only because of the fruit, but if you go beyond the peel, and taste the fruit, how sweet our life must be!
We spend ridiculous amounts of time looking for joy only within what our immediate five senses can grasp: touch, smell, taste, hear, see… We cling to temporary satisfactions like food, drugs, sex, alcohol, and shallow relationships wishing, hoping, preying that they will keep us satisfied long enough that we won’t realize we’re wasting our life away nibbling at a bitter peel. Those things are not the fruit! It is all the peel…just fleeting moments of temporary satiation that only drop us back into that emptiness…that feeling of…something missing…
What if every day was spent eating the fruit and not the peel? How sweet would life be? Sadhguru said that living our life eating the peel is like living life only with the intention of eat, sleep, reproduce, and die. If that was our only purpose on this Earth, then what is the point of our intelligence? What is the point? The fact is, that “something missing” in all of us is a desperate search for connection, love, meaningful relationship, a sense of purpose. If our only purpose is to eat, sleep, have sex and die, we don’t need this kind of human body to do such primal things. We are better off being a dog, or a cockroach.
We are humans on this Earth, with an AMAZING potential and purpose. Our intelligence has brought us so far and so quickly, but we are currently at a stand-still because we have gotten so used to eating pith and peel, happy when we’ve managed to find a sweet spot, and disappointed when the rest of it is bitter nastiness. Yet we still eat it! We’ve totally lost sight that fruit even exists.
So with that my wish for you, me, and all of us is that when we come across the sweet and the bitter parts of the peel, we recognize it as simply the peel. May we remember that life is not what’s outside, but what’s inside. Life is what is contained within the peel. Life IS the fruit inside all the bitter and sweet spots. The real lasting, juicy, wholesome, unchanging sweetness is…YOU.