I enjoyed lunch with a friend today and he was telling me about a beer tasting he recently attended.
The person conducting the tasting informed the group that, “Today we are not going to drink beer we are going to taste it. You can go out to the grocery store and get x brand lite beer, if you just want to drink beer. With these hand-crafted brews, it’s all about tasting.”
As I listened to my friend describe the beer tasting, I began to see a life metaphor. You can “drink” your way through life or “taste” your way through life. Each has its inherent advantages and drawbacks.
“Drinking” your way through life is about having fun and a carefree attitude. It’s the experience of “living for the moment.” Without these moments, life would be dull and lack a certain thrill factor.
There are times when you have to cut loose and really “drink” life in. There is no consciousness of anything between the lips and the stomach. The experience is marked by a satisfied unawareness.
Always “drinking” and never “tasting” causes you to lose perspective and meaning and can lead to excess. This approach creates a situation where you tend to consume ideas and experiences without the careful attention and evaluation they deserve. It can lead to a life completely unexamined and you might wake up one morning and wonder how you got where you are.
Meanwhile, “tasting” your way through life is about “being in the moment”. These are the moments when you have a heightened sense that there is something more to life than its surface appearances. Without these moments, life would lack meaning and purpose.
This is the approach that causes you to “stop and smell the roses” and appreciate the meaning and significance of people, events, and experiences. It is the approach that causes you to stop and savor the “bubbles” of life as they tickle your tongue on their way to the stomach.
“Tasting”, really “tasting”, involves conscious awareness of what you are consuming and how it affects you.
The “tasting” approach has its drawbacks too. If we experience everything as having ultimate significance, then all experiences actually cease having significance. You lose your sense of fun when everything is meticulously evaluated. You can become too tentative and cautious and lose your sense of adventure.
Finding the right mix of awareness and fun in your life, it seems, is about achieving a premium mix of “drinking” and “tasting” as you consume the great brew of life.