Anuj's Unexpected Restaurant Encounter

Posted by Audrey Lin on Oct 12, 2017
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[At last night's Awakin Circle, we were moved by this sweet story Anuj shared.]



In this world, there is so much window shopping for love these days. There are products, there are services -- everything has a tag on it -- and in some way, they're calling what you generate out of it "value". And they equate it to money, but they talk about love or the value that they provide. I was thinking about how we have commercialized love in certain ways, and it's very hard to see without having that training.

I think it's a part-mind and part-heart exercise ... There's a certain amount of training that almost feels like how someone trains in an art form, because creativity comes from the heart. From the love.

I was thinking about how a musician has to train for years to get a really good ear for listening. At the beginning you may love listening to music, and at the end, you may still love listening ot music, but the definition of how you're listening changes completely over a period of time. And that signifies to me what love is, and over a period of time how that would change for somebody.

As that listening deepens, what would love become?

A few weeks back, I had this amazing encounter. My wife and I went for a dinner in a Mexican restaurant. It's one of my favorite places because they serve vegan food. They were very busy, and we were not sure if we would get what we were looking for. I always remember sitting there and looking through the glass window [between the kitchen and the restaurant]. The cooks that are cooking there are very authentic to me when I see them doing their work. So, whenever one of them will look up, I always have a smile on my face. And as I'm looking, I'm always really curious -- how are they making the bread? how are they making the food? They're all busy chopping and running around.

There's this one head chef -- he's always there cooking things, but he has the biggest smile. He's like the smile millionaire. :) He'll always smile at me and I'll smile back. There's just so much energy and love that he generates with that one smile, while it's busy. And he sees that I'm paying attention and that I'm connecting with every activity that they are doing in there, thanking them mentally for what they are doing in there and putting in their intention.

On this particular day, when I got my food, it didn't come out right -- and that head chef saw my face through the window. He was curious, and actually asked me from the back, "Is everything good?"

I said, "Good enough."

Then he actually ran out to the restaurant floor to find out what was wrong. When I saw him coming, I honored him and said, "You know, this is what I think has happened." He took it right away, and he prepared a new dish with double the amount of heart. And I watched him instruct the cook next to him, saying, "This is what you need to do." Even with all the chips and sauce and everything -- he just made a completely different experience out of it.

When the food came back out to me, he stood again behind the glass window, and he kept beaming, as if to say, "How is it now?" :)

I held two thumbs up with a big smile. :)

He goes, "Okay!" Now he was satisfied, :) and he went back to the other work that he was doing.

What struck me was that, amid all the kitchen busy-ness, he took the time to fine-tune that one thing. He had no obligation to do it; I had already made the payment, so he wouldn't have lost anything if he said, "Sorry, we are busy." But he took the time to connect -- to really search and amplify that one instance, and that really meant a lot.

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Comments (1)

  • Sheetal wrote ...

    Love this story connecting my favorite things.. Mexican food and music.. Thanks for sharing such delicious stories, straight from the warm kitchen of your heart..