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16. Distillation of the Self

As we help our Person narrows his patterns of consumption, we also help him or her to narrow the parameters of output. In this process of refinement oneÕs Person becomes fine and subtle. We refine our physical and emotional mass as much as possible so that we are not blown away by the strong winds of time. Refining our physical mass is just a prelude to refining the emotional mass of our personal Egos. Holding on desperately we donÕt want to let go. Feeding it constantly.

Narrowing Music parameters

On the road to mastery, which is a method of refining the Self, one must narrow the parameters for almost anything they undertake. Music is a good example. In the playing of music one narrows the precision of the tempo, narrows delays and interruptions. In fact one works on the parts of the music with the broadest parameters, where oneÕs precision is less than perfect. This might also include dynamics and phrasing. The teacher attempts to narrow the studentÕs broad parameters – where the mezzo forte blends into the forte – where oneÕs Allegro is the same speed as the Andante – where the crescendo canÕt be heard. Note that these parameters have nothing to do with the notes. It is assumed that if one takes the music slow enough that the notes will be accurate. Thus the parameter that must be worked on is the tempo, not the notes.

Narrowing Tai Chi parameters

Also in Tai chi the practitioner should continually narrow parameters to become a master. Some of the parameters that are continually narrowed are weight shift, continuity of movement, which includes stopping and starting, and lightness, which includes sensitivity and listening. The only way that any parameter can be narrowed is by becoming aware of it. If one is unaware of the parameter of weight shift then one cannot narrow it.

Narrowing parameters of Ego

In terms of Restaurant Service, as well as Life, the main parameter to be narrowed is that of Ego. Below is a chart, which indicates the range of Personal and Collective Ego.

Range of Personal Ego

We will first examine this parameter in terms of the Waiter. If the Waiter has Ōtoo muchÕ Personal Ego, he will be obnoxious and overbearing, more concerned with his tip than the Guest Happiness. If the Waiter doesnÕt have enough Personal Ego then he has no Personality. He might be too timid and shy, obsequious, without a presence. If the Waiter has just the right amount of Personal Ego then he has just enough personality without being too bold. He is confident, not cocky. Of course this applies to Waitresses as well.

Range of Collective Ego

If a server has Ōnot enoughÕ of the Collective Ego, then one is constantly thinking about oneself and very little about the guest happiness except as it relates to personal happiness. Because of this lack the Server is greedy and territorial. When the amount of Collective Ego is Ōjust rightÕ the Server is empathetic and sensitive without going overboard. On the other hand if the person has Ōtoo muchÕ collective ego then the pain of the Guest or the World becomes their pain overwhelming them with grief and pity, disabling them for effective action.

Love in action, highest level

When the empathy for the guest or the world becomes so great that it paralyzes the Person, it is too much. When the empathy for the Guest or World is not enough then the Person doesnÕt feel enough empathy and only serves himself. When the empathy is just right one is able to exhibit Ōlove in actionÕ, the highest level of Service, when the Waiter merges with the Guest Consciousness to move them to a higher level.

Waiter needs as little Ego as possible, but needs some

The less Personal Ego the Server has the Better, but the Server needs some. It is not about the Server. It is about the Guest. The sooner the Waiter reduces his or her personal Ego to an infinitesimal point the quicker they can merge with the Guest to propel them to higher levels of Consciousness. Being stuck in the Person, the Personal Ego, one reacts with mental suffering and anguish to: how much is spent - how much one is tipped - how much one has to work.

When one merges with the Guest their happiness becomes your happiness. However this also means that their unhappiness becomes yours also. This is when the Collective Ego comes in.

Too much Collective Ego

When one realizes oneÕs identity with the Collective Self the pain of the Guest becomes the pain of the Server. While a little of this is empathy and helps to facilitate service, too much becomes false Pity. This occurs when the Server because of extreme empathy becomes the Personal Ego of the Guest. While it is important to make the Guest as happy as possible, there are some Guests who are not going to be happy no matter what. With too much Collective Ego, the Waiter internalizes the pain of the GuestÕs Ego. While feeling Empathy for a Personal Ego in pain is important; it is more important not to be debilitated by it, for then youÕll certainly be no good to anyone – and might even need help yourself.

Server and Self parameters identical

Notice that the Ego parameters are nearly identical for Server and Self. This is because the ultimate realization is that the self that the Mind has created doesnÕt exist. Unfortunately this is the self that most of us take ourselves to be. The Self is as indefinable by MindÕs Words as are Sex, Birth, Death, and Life. Unfortunately the Mind has spun a dazzling display, which is distracting in its pain and splendor. Indeed one of lifeÕs goals is to extract our Being from the chains of our Person. In extension our Person is there to help other Beings to realize their ultimate difference from their Body/ Mind Complex, their Person.

Merging in order to harmonize illumination

The best way to accomplish this is by merging with the Guest Consciousness or World Consciousness. Once the merger has occurred, one harmonizes with the Guest to expand the Personal Universe to higher levels. This joining of energies serves to illuminate the Raw Glory of the True Self. Sometimes this takes lifetimes to achieve. Note that this is a collective movement. The Server and Served achieve union together, in this choreographed event.


In summary, in the Grappa making process one takes some sludge and refines it turning it into something beautiful from something gross. First one gets the sludge as fresh as possible and then one narrows the parameters of distillation. Similarly with our Person, we first attempt to put the freshest, best ingredients into our body and then we attempt to narrow the parameters of our output. In this way we transform our Person from something gross and blunt to something refined and subtle. In this way we are not buffeted physically and emotionally by the Winds of Time because we are just an infinitesimal point, which in its nothingness is everything there is.


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