Bitter about suffering? Ask the great chef for help!

Do you ever get blue watching the news, even glancing at the headlines, or listening to the radio? This world seems full of destruction and pain!

First, Use Meditation as a Vision Tool to Ask About Suffering

One of my goals is to learn from my Guides while I'm in meditation. In the evenings, I'm asking my Guides questions while I'm in the hypnogogic state, that in-between dozing space before falling deeply asleep.

Last night, I imagined I was walking into a large, open field with the night sky open above me. I sat on the ground in the middle of the field, with my arms wrapped around my knees (it was chilly).

I asked, "Why is there suffering in the world?"

The answer came immediately, as a voice: "You think it's suffering, don't you?" I nodded.

The voice continued, "I know it feels like suffering, and I'm sorry. I'd like to explain it in a different way. You know how a great chef includes every flavor in an excellent meal? Sweet, salty, sour, umami, and bitter?"

Learning about the Five Flavors - of Life?

Yes, I'd read about the five flavors. Especially Japanese cooks are great at that, making sure all 5 flavors are on the plate.

Sweet is at the top of my list. Honey, cinnabon rolls, vanilla ice cream. Mmmm.
Salty is a yes. Potato chips, popcorn. Craving salty at the end of the day!
Sour in small doses: the American treat cranberry sauce (we add sugar, though).
Umami. Even the word "umami" made me smack my lips: the flavor of dark chocolate, the smoky flavor of nori sheets around sushi, black espresso... I like umami tastes a LOT.
And bitter. I also appreciate bitter, more and more as I grow older. Dandelion greens, for example. Hummus dip. And a drop of "bitters" mixed with soda for a non-alcoholic drink. Also strongly-brewed rooibos tea.

photo by Brooke Lark, Unsplash

And Now, Some Classic Advice, "Don't Get Stuck!"

The Guide's voice picked me up out of my train of thought. I was still sitting in the field, still cold. Only my imagination had wandered into the menus of great restaurants.

The voice made its last point: "So don't get stuck in the bitter. It's just one of the flavors in your life."

The vision faded. I felt calmer.

But still, even though I've had bitter experiences in my life - divorce, addiction, money troubles, loneliness - could that be reduced to just a "flavor?" What about people who have experienced torture, oppression, war, forced removals, rape, and abuse?

I was able to contemplate the theory, but it hadn't landed completely for me yet.

But Rather, Access Your Inner Star

In the morning, I visited my kinesiologist (a kind of a healer. Brilliant stuff!). At the time, I had been gaining weight, my client flow seemed blocked, and I was processing a breakup. For me, just for today, life sucked.

In the midst of the session, I told my kinesiologist the story of my vision. She's always supportive and interested in my inner work, so she listened carefully.

She pointed to one of the dozens of colorful charts on her wall. It pictured the 5 elements of metal, wood, fire, water, and air. "That's the same system as the flavors," she said.

The next point on my healing protocol called for me to look at a shape, so she pulled out her flashcards with geometric figures. "The one your body is asking for is STAR," she said, and the deeper meaning was: I was supposed to access my inner star.

She showed me a plain white card, with a simple 5-pointed star drawn on it. She moved the card in a full circle and directed my eyes to follow it, around like a clock.

Coincidentally repeating the words from the Guide the night before, she read the text out loud:

"Don't get stuck in one of the outer triangles of the star, but find your fullest self in the interior pentagram, where all the elements come together."

Ah, suddenly it all made sense.

Putting it All Together on One Plate

Problems are real. "Bad" things happen, in my perception of them. Getting stuck there (agonizing, dramatizing, re-hashing, and wallowing) is my mistake.

The Buddha said it"Pain is a given. But suffering is optional."

When I feel upset, I'm teetering far on an outer triangle, burning my tongue on a spoonful of chili sauce or sipping straight lemon juice and choking on the acid. I'm not balancing the mix of flavors that Life offers.

By blending it all together, noticing the sweet moments among the sad, I enter the center. The power of the whole star is how God made me.

Lying on the kinesiologist's bed, all my muscles relaxed. I felt a surge of gratitude for the great Chef who so generously prepares for us exactly the meal we need.

Where are you out of balance? Let's find out!  Schedule a 10-question dialogue between you and your Guides by emailing

Legal disclaimer and privacy statement
Top linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram