There are many people we love unconditionally but there are only a few places in the world where we have felt unconditional love. The most loving ground we have ever stepped foot on was the Ananda Kurjana Ashram and Orphanage in Indonesia.
It is a place that exists because of love, grows out of love, and transforms living things who cross its path, into a greater, wider capacity for love. This Children’s Home houses 30 children ages 6-18 and is run by a monk called Dada who is an exquisite teacher. He taught us, not with words, but by literally following in his footsteps, the one thing we all know to be true.
Love Is All There Is
We wrote extensively about the lessons learned by living in such a sacred place as we had the experiences in 2016. Below are the links to that story as it unfolded for those who are interested:
How to Rid Yourself of Chores Forever
Mindful of A Balinese Full Moon
Simple Life-Changing Practices
We are still adjusting to living in America for the first time in more than five years. Today’s blog is a story we haven’t pieced together until now, because at the time it was shared with us, it seemed smaller than other stories. As the year’s pass, the power of this simple story, told to us by an Indonesia monk in a tangerine robe, about making Italian passata on an Australian farm, now seems meaningful in a new way.
After a few days of yoga and meditation led by the orphans at sunrise and sunset, we were inspired to explore the concept of love is all there is, so we asked Dada, “What is the greatest barrier to feeling and expressing unconditional love?” Dada answered with a story…
The last farm land that I worked was in Australia. It was the most abundant tomato farm. I made passata to sell to support the continued cultivation of the land in a responsible and traditional way. Every day, I made 20 jars of passata and local vendors would come and purchase them right from the farm. I never had any left. I always made just enough.
One day, the owner of a restaurant chain visited and asked if I could double my production to supply his business with passata. I was so full of joy that he could taste the love I put into each jar but I graciously declined his offer. You see, changing my production at all would change my process.
Instead of plowing the fields by hand, I would need a machine. Instead of inspecting each piece of fruit, I would have to test a percentage of each batch. Instead of canning the jars in my ancient pot over a wood fire, they would be transported to a processing plant. It was easy to say no because what I was doing was just enough to create the perfect balance between the product and the process. There was no excess. There was just enough.
We sat there silently thinking about all we have learned about the great game of business. When asked if we could deliver more, we learned to say, “yes” and then find a way to deliver. What about supply and demand? What about growing this operation and providing more jobs? Even though what Dada told us was not familiar, it made sense in a universal, timeless way and it was much bigger than that moment.
In an effort to test his theory, we began to extend his principles of “enoughness” to other areas of life. We fired off questions, such as:
What if someone is mean to us or our loved ones and we feel the need to defend ourselves?
Dada answered, “When you remember love is all there is, and someone is mean to you, you feel empathy because they are unhappy but it doesn’t land with you. It can’t.”
What about seeing starving children and feeling the injustice in the world?
Dada answered, “When you remember love is all there is, you find many ways to feed the hungry because it is not about what someone else is not doing to help, but rather about what you are capable of doing to help.”
What about when someone drops trash in the ocean or on the beach?
Dada answered, “When you remember that love is all there is, you know the earth will be fine and when people talk about saving it, they are really talking about saving themselves. When you feel unconditional love for mother earth, you will find your actions align with showing your love for her, and others may then follow your lead if they wish.”
What about politics and poor leadership?
Dada answered, “When you remember that love is all there is, you are following your internal guidance system and it will never fail you when you come from a place of love.”
What about fighting between different faiths and religions?
Dada answered, “When you remember that love is all there is, you are love and therefore you see only love and connection with others. You rise above the difference effortlessly because love is the source of the connection and there is no opportunity for conflict.”
What about feeling a shortage of money and needing to make more immediately?
Dada answered, “When you remember that love is all there is, you open yourself up too many resources that provide exactly what it is you feel you are lacking. If you can’t see these streams from the fearful place you stand and you find your way into loving thoughts and actions, you will have access to an abundance that will sustain you and your loved ones. Many people, particularly in capitalist nations, fear if they stop pushing themselves they will not succeed. The opposite is true. There is a magnetism in those that understand what “enough” looks like and they change the world in a balanced and sustained way through that knowing.”
He ended by reminding us that the only barrier to giving and receiving unconditional love is believing we are enough, we have enough, we give enough, we know enough, we make enough, we produce enough. It is not a process of learning, but rather one of remembering something we already know that is so simple and yet so easily forgotten.
Dada’s One Ingredient Passata Recipe
Passata is uncooked tomato sauce without seeds or skins, bottled and preserved to be used in a variety of dishes such as pizza, pasta, lasagna, and soups. It needs to be cooked when used, as it is only blanched when canned. It is not meant to be eaten from the jar. Because it is bottled uncooked, it retains that peak freshness and vibrant sunburst flavor.
Dada planted, grew, and harvested all of his passata tomatoes by hand but that is not required to make a mouthwatering product. The love you put in each jar is the most important ingredient. In addition to love, traditional passata has only one ingredient…
- 4 pounds of very ripe red tomatoes (San Marzano or Roma varieties are our favorites). Inspect every tomato, removing rotten pieces, bruises, and stains. Cut them in half and put them in a bowl. Taking one half at a time, remove all the innards of the tomato, seeds, etc that contain too much water for a classic passata.
- Place seeded tomatoes in a large pot and cover with the lid. Cook over low heat until they are smashed a bit.
- Put smashed tomatoes into a tomato strainer machine or food mill. This process will remove skins and any remaining seeds. If you still have too much liquid in your passata bowl, strain in a colander until desired consistency is reached.
Depending on the country you are in, you need to follow the guidelines for canning tomatoes as the acidity level and process are important to your health.
Since Dada was in control of his product from seed to table, he filled sterilized glass jars using a funnel, until there was about an inch of headroom. He would cover the jars with water in a huge pot, cover the pot and boil for 40 minutes. He would cool the jars in the pot and the jars, if kept in a stable, dry place, would keep for a year. Of course, the velvety, crimson-filled jars never lasted that long because Dada made just enough.