The notion of complete absorption in the moment, is not so common these days. We have one eye on the ‘phone, we may do things whilst watching TV or having a conversation. But we do not focus as much as much as we might. I do a fair bit of cooking and consistent with my travels, mangoes often feature. This is good because it enables me to practise the zen of peeling mangoes. The riper the mango the more tricky it is to peel. My sister used to say that the only clean way to eat a mango is in the bath, whilst bathing.
If you are to get the most out of peeling, you need to use a knife and not a peeler. The idea is to take the skin off in one whole piece. To do this you have to be focussed, calm and unhurried. One starts at the top and slowly works around and down. You have to gauge the thickness and depth of the cut. Too thin and the peel will split, too thick and you can’t get that nice circular feeling needed. You will end up with an asymmetry and this too causes the peel to break. When you first start peeling mangoes, chances are that you won’t be able to take the peel off in one thread. It is not you against the mango, it is you with the mango. It is not there to be conquered. As you progress the mango will get ever more slippery in your hand and to keep hold of it you need to adjust the grip, too slack and the mango drops, too tight and it shoots out of your hand. It must not be rushed, for that is the sure-fire way for the peel to break. It is not a race, it is an experience, the zen of peeling mangoes. The ones which are bigger than the clenched fist of a large man are the best for this.
Whilst you do this you get the touch of the mango skin, the juice and that lovely fresh mango smell.
Try this, the zen of peeling mangoes, it works with other things, but my experience is that mangoes are best.