Are You Ripe Yet?
“A man watches his pear tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap.” - Abraham Lincoln
There is nothing like eating fruit when it is just ripe. Ripeness brings out the best flavor, texture, and a delicious smell. A week too early or late, and it’s not the same experience. In pre-Covid times, we might have squeezed fruit in the supermarket to check how ripe it is.
At MEA, we don’t squeeze our compadres who show up for a workshop in Baja, but we know from experience that many of them are ripe. After a few years of feeling hardened on the surface, a certain softness (and openness) has started to emerge from their center. Yes, the belly may have softened, too, but so has the heart, mind, and soul.
The ripening of our hearts means that we’re better able to be compassionate. The ripening of our minds means we have an increased tolerance for ambiguity, wisdom at our fingertips, and a growing sense of subtlety. And, the ripening of our soul means we’ve immigrated from the ghetto of the ego to a neighborhood more suitable for contemplation and reflection. Combine the three, and it means we are ripe to experience the joy of purpose that is our birthright.
A fruit that wants to stay young never ripens; the same is true of someone in midlife.
P.S. Our very own long-time faculty member Dacher Keltner (UC Berkeley professor and founder of the Greater Good Science Center) launched his new book yesterday AWE: The New Science of Everyday Wonder and How It Can Transform Your Life. It’s just been featured in the New York Times and The Atlantic with great articles by Dacher that give you a flavor for the book.