Lessons learnt from the kitchen sink
For as long as I have lived in the ashram I have wondered why the kitchen, which feeds 250 to 300 seekers daily, has only one kitchen sink. But I maintained an attitude of learning and tried not to comment on what I felt could have been done more logically…. but the question never went away from my mind.
How could it? Every time one was at the sink and trying to wash the dishes for a span of two hours or so, someone or the other would gently intervene and request to either fill a small container of water to clean the counter with, or rinse their hands between cooking, or they needed the sink as they felt like a cup of tea, the seeker about to chop cilantro would bring her colander to rinse the leaves and the one who wanted to churn buttermilk would require the sink as well … and so the flow of users remained uninterrupted!
So the heap of dishes would get washed at a staggered but even pace that took into account all the interruptions. No one ever questioned the absence of another sink. One kitchen sink was accepted as a way of life. Everyone was content.
I tried hard to align myself with everyone, always thinking that a couple more sinks would have been the more efficient way to go.
Suddenly, only a couple days ago a new understanding suddenly slid into my consciousness. This sink was nothing but God’s ‘Divine Design’! I had been using my limited intellect all this while. But Spirituality is beyond the intellect. So I had to look beyond the illogical scenario and see the real purpose that this kitchen sink was fulfilling. I realized that God did not merely want dishes to be washed. He wanted to create divinity within seekers.
This sink put one on the spot as it had the potential to precipitate the flaws within one – the slightest bit of irritation could easily be perceived by the interrupting seeker who now stood right beside one. So one’s patience had to develop and one’s love had to develop too, so that each interaction was gentle and friendly and even sublime.
The kitchen sink interruptions have served as a time to nudge the other and say something uplifting, share some advice or correct a mistake like ‘you have the tap open too wide, you‘re wasting water’. Washing dishes for those two hours was really merely an excuse for the big picture which was that each of us was getting a chance to be washed up and sorted out on the inside.
Our Kitchen Sink has given us practical lessons on how to be in complete acceptance mode and has even got me to learn how to go beyond my intellect. Without this divinely orchestrated discomfort, where would we have got this almost laboratory like situation that induces internal transformation?
The concept of Swechchaa, Parechchaa and Ishwarechchaa in spiritual practice and growth
Gratitude and spiritual closeness among seekers experienced in the āshram
If the student is willing, the Guru is always teaching