By Reverend Ben Gale
It is a Sunday afternoon in South Korea. My lessons for the next week are already planned out; Creedence is playing on my radio. I spent the hours between 10am (when I woke up) to 12pm talking with my special lady friend in China; we are excited to see each other again this May. I slip on my bathrobe I picked up in a Korean thrift shop and eat a breakfast of pancakes which I made the night before. It’s the most relaxing day of the year.
I’m getting ready for some T’ai Chi. It’s about 2:00pm by this time and I mix myself a White Russian in an old-fashioned glass with 6 ice cubes or so. I measured the Kahlua and vodka by eye and they mix nice because darkness warshes itself so well with clarity. I top ‘er off with milk and take a minute to watch the milk and mixed coffee liqueur mingle together while staying apart. I mix them up and there is no longer separation of black and white. A delicious grey sits before me in this old fashioned cup.
I hold my glass for balance, practicing some basic breaths to warm up, sipping her down at the end of each exercise. No real plan what postures I will move onto so I sit down a spell with my glass half full to ponder. I stare at my drink.
The White Russian is such a peculiar beverage. It contains just enough alcohol for a regiment that keeps your mind limber. The alcohol sits at the bottom of the glass, as it is heavier than the milk. Milk alone is pretty flavorless, vodka alone is pretty harsh, Kahlua alone is a little too sweet. Rarely has this dude seen a man drink his White Russian with all the parts kept separate. She isn’t too cold, not too warm, not to harsh, not too sweet, not too bland. It is a balance of things that alone cannot stand, man. They just aren’t that fucking enjoyable. However they are colored beautiful when they mix, and these flavors that are “too full” with their properties combined make for a tasty beverage.
T’ai Chi, like yoga and other Eastern things, talk about balance between light and dark, good and evil, discipline and desire. A White Russian isn’t delicious because all of its mixins are kept separate in your glass. It’s delicious because you take your spoon, or swizzle stick, or what-have-you and move it all together then sip her bit by bit to make yourself limber. It’s a grey practice and it gets you right where you need to be.
Dudeism is the same way, man. She isn’t a beast of discipline, and she ain’t a beast of desire either. She boasts no accomplishments, and this alone is her accomplishment. Balance is not achieved, as balance is the natural state once you mix light and dark all together. You can’t unmix a White Russian part for part, and even if you could why would you? Just drink her in at your own tempo and let the world move with you and around you.
Even the ingredients are unique in their own right. Alcohol is, like everything in this world to a degree, a naturally occurring substance but vodka and Kahlua sure aren’t. Scientifically alcohol is a poison and a taker of life. Milk is a naturally-occurring substance, but obtained through human procurement. It is the first taste most of us know, and gives your body everything it needs. It’s a life giver. At my current age milk isn’t too appealing and alcohol is a little too fast. In my glass I have nature-procured but man-made poison. So too do I have man-procured but nature-made milk.
When made grey, all facets of life and humanity are made clear, and when consumed, we are made limber. I am no longer yin nor yang, but the log in the forest that is a part of all things, with no agenda. I ain’t tossing out a ringer for a ringer here. I do a flow of yin and yang together, being careful not to spill my beverage here, and find my balance. Like Dudeism, I don’t commit to one side of a coin, because a coin only has value when it has two sides. The White Russian is a reminder of this, as is the way of the Dude. Cheers.