Alan Watts describes anxiety as a feedback loop. A feedback loop, when the receiver, like the pickup of an electric guitar or a microphone, gets too close to the speaker playing its signal, resulting immediately in a high-pitched hum, howl or screech. (A comparable thing happens when a television camera is pointed at a monitor.) The mind plays a memory, the brain plays a thought back to itself, amplifying it in its corridors and pathways, 'til it becomes a thought no longer but a loud noise lacking meaning, something that needs to be turned off. Thus the practice of clearing the mind with meditation.
Wine-tasting night, a good chalky Sancerre, an easy-going and interesting Pinot Noir from the Loire, a Tourraine, imported by Winebow. I walk my bicycle through the damp woods as a drizzle falls. The colors of the woods remind of the strange Bois du Boulogne whipping scene in Belle Du Jour, the misty air of a French forest. The thought goes through my mind that wine is to be enjoyed, today a perfect day, Fall heading into Winter, the story of one growing season, of the years of a grapevine rooted in its soil in a particular place, left to the whims of nature (unirrigated as New World creature of artifice wines often are), all the elements of terroir, of all creatures witnessed in a glass. Wine is not to be hoarded, rare, expensive, in a cellar, no, there is something quite spiritual about it, and so, as I find later as the customers come in, a glass allows one to scratch the surface of life, to open up some. And often, I find, people are the same as me, that they too know the tyranny of an overthinking mind, that they too have seen therapists, that they too know an array of people with an array, the spectrum of mental states and issues. And then the refreshing talk, which happens over a simple quite enjoyable and drinkable glass of good old 2011 Beaujolais imported by Wine Traditions of Falls Church, VA., is interrupted by the talk of the wine consumer.
And this talk, of winemakers I've never heard of, fancy, with price tags, fine wines I'm sure, eventually, luckily, itself fades as a food pairing is made, Bordeaux with Veal Cheeks, Ventoux with Calves Liver. Talk of what children are up to, family geographical history, Texas.
A woman makes a nice point, earlier, just the two of us in the bar, about putting her cellphone on airport mode. She's a property manager. The phone rings often. She likes to mountain bike out in nature on weekends.
With my own rudimentary understandings, with the legacy of parents that place certain kinds of books upon one's expanding bookshelves, interests that awaken, recede, come back strongly again, with my own experience of almost twenty five years behind a bar, yes, why not; I stand just as good a shot as anyone of being his own particular sort of Zen practitioner. And thus, whatever I would write, really would be the geological record of a pursuit of some earned wisdom, not unlike that found in a therapist's office, or in a book such a professional might recommend. And find along the way, a Zen guide to my own form of sanity, something to share, something going beyond the specific details of crafted cocktails and all that stylish rot. Wine does not go out of style, and nor does food, nor does wisdom and good mental health.