There is an instruction in the Metta Sutta (the Buddha’s teaching on Loving Kindness) which says one should be ‘straightforward’. Sometimes the Pali is translated more strongly as ‘straight, very straight’. I understand this to mean not fickle.
Perhaps the most disconcerting thing about being committed to mindful awareness is seeing the myriad erratic and inconsistent ways that I act out, having been a slave to foolish thoughts, baseless opinions and old and outdated fears and conditioning.
At Wangapeka last weekend, when a certain person helped themselves to a handful of pistachios from the cook’s pantry, which is officially off-limits, I experienced a lot of judgement. The next day, when someone else helped themselves to a whole bowl of almonds and put it on the breakfast table for the group to share, I thought “ok, well, good on ya!”
Several people that weekend asked me for the recipe for the Roasted Banana Cheesecake we had for dessert. It IS pretty epic! Depending on my mood, my relationship to the person, how busy I was, how long since I’d last had a cup of tea, and/or the way the wind was blowing, I either joyfully wrote it down with genuine enthusiasm and delight, or I said “no, sorry” and various options in between. I couldn’t help but get curious – why was my response so variable?
Following the most wonderful 10-day retreat with Sister Viranani at Te Moata last month, I’ve been chanting the Metta Sutta twice a day at the end of my meditation practise. Perhaps it’s my intention to be more ‘straight’ which has meant I’ve started really noticing all the ways that I am not straight. In fact I’ve realised just how jagged I am.
When I am feeling challenged and hurt, it’s an old habit to close my heart and try and control things. I hope that somehow, by noticing my temperamental responses, witnessing and (reluctantly) accepting this is a part of who I currently am, the kinks will start to smooth out.
Anyway, here is the Roast Banana Cheesecake recipe. I offer it with MUCH happiness and an aspiration to always make the time to share what I have. Because I have so much, and because I know that none of it is really mine anyway. And it never feels good to be stingy.
And a big thank you for the huge squad of volunteers who spent the long weekend at Wangapeka at our working bee. You all demonstrated inspiring warm-heartedness and straight-forward generosity.
Roasted Banana Cheesecake – serves 12 generously
Heat oven to 170. Line and grease 26cm cake tin.
Roast 4 medium bananas in their skins until soft and blackened – about 15 mins. Let cool, then peel.
Put a 250g packet of biscuits and 100g melted butter in a food processor and blitz to get a wet sand-like mixture. Press into the prepared tin, and chill to firm up.
For the topping, put 1 cup castor sugar and 6 eggs in the cleaned processor, and combine well. Add 1kg of cream cheese, dollop at a time, and whizz until smooth. Drop in the peeled and cooled bananas. Mix well. Pour onto the firmed up base, then bake for 45-55 mins. There may be a little wobble in the centre, but it should be mostly well set. Let cool completely in tin, and ideally chill overnight.
The cheesecake is deliciously rich just as it is, but for even more decadence, serve drizzled with maple syrup and your choice of fruity topping. My preference is for something tart to offset the creaminess – rhubarb or raspberry sauce is perfect.