My love for hot, buttered popcorn goes back to nights with my family gathered around the television watching “Starsky and Hutch” and “Mork and Mindy.”  My father held the giant bowl as my three siblings and I dug in our little fists and stuffed our faces with the crunchy, salty, buttery goodness.  Years later people asked me why I ate popcorn so quickly, and I realized it was because when I was young, you got in fast, or you got left out.

So after popping some tonight, I sat down on the couch and began to munch.  After a moment or so, my thoughts drifted to The Zen Teacher Project—how the tweets were going, what blog posts I might write, how much traffic the site was getting.  In a moment of irony and foreshadowing, I began focusing on the importance of mindfulness and staying present in the moment.

Before I knew it, I looked down and the popcorn was gone.  I was staring at an empty bowl full of those sad, little unpopped orphan kernels.  I’d spent the last ten minutes shoveling it in as I was thinking, lost in thought and completely oblivious to my own actions.  I’d missed the entire snack experience. To my dismay, I’d neglected to Become One With The Corn.

As Zen Teachers, though, we know learning is never a straight line. There are twists, turns, spirals, reversals, detours, false starts, dead ends, and sometimes outright failure.  Tonight taught me more about Acceptance and Detachment than Mindfulness.  We have to accept that learning is a process. New skills take practice.  Our attempts at Zen won’t be perfect every time.  Things might sometimes be a little rocky on The Road to Enlightenment (and why do I suddenly want ice cream?).

Sometimes, when pursuing our sense of Peace, we’ll have to go back to the drawing board.  Or, in this case, the microwave oven.  TZT