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Distilled Essence October 10, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Less IS More, Mindfulness, Writing & Writers.

When we create whiskey, maple syrup, perfume, and many other sauce reductions, we distill them down to the essence to concentrate the flavor.

The distillation process emphasizes the tastes and aromas ~ the extraneous evaporates, leaving only the essential essence behind.

Less is more.

The same is true with our thoughts.

When we distill them down to the essence, we concentrate the flavors, textures, tastes, and aromas.

We let others read between the lines.

Quote:  When we relinquish or renounce the extraneous, we are left with the essential, which cannot be lost.  ~ Lama Surya Das

Aah . . . that’s better!

Which do you prefer . . . reading a treatise where everything is spelled out, often in excruciating detail?  Or a more broadbrushed approach which challenges you to put on your thinking cap and think?


1. gita4elamats - October 10, 2012

Less is more, indeed.
Cheers & peace!

nrhatch - October 10, 2012

Distilling things down to the essence is why, as noted on your blog, “The poet can reach where the sun cannot.” ~ Hindu Proverb 😎

2. suzicate - October 10, 2012

I like this distilling thoughts,never heard it put that way…oh, the essence of it all!

nrhatch - October 10, 2012

It’s why I like quotes so much . . . distilled essence that is far more portable than more cumbersome thoughts! 😀

3. Tammy - October 10, 2012

Lovely thought Nancy!

nrhatch - October 10, 2012

This thought came to me while eating pancakes . . . with thick, rich, delicious maple syrup poured over them. 😀

Maple syrup is so much tastier than sap!

4. Zen and Genki - October 10, 2012

Thinking cap, all the way!

nrhatch - October 10, 2012

Why does that not surprise me? 😉

When someone fills in all the blanks and connects all the dots for me, the process seems too cumbersome and sluggish.

We travel best when we travel light.

5. Andra Watkins - October 10, 2012

Detail drives me crazy. That’s why I left public accounting. 🙂

nrhatch - October 10, 2012

I’ve been urged on more than a few occasions to apply for a university teaching position . . . and the publication requirement stopped me dead in my tracks.

I have NO desire to write a tedious treatise on some obscure esoteric point when the WHOLE forest is out there waiting to be explored. 😀

6. Don - October 10, 2012

That quote is superb. Love your analogy.

nrhatch - October 10, 2012

Thanks, Don! You might enjoy reading Awakening to the Sacred by Lama Surya Das:


Don - October 11, 2012

Beautiful post Nancy. It all resonates for me especially the whole aspect of awareness and those principles that work towards unconditional love. Would like to get the book. Thanks again.

nrhatch - October 11, 2012

Thanks, Don. Chris Prentiss has a new book out, The Laws of Love, that might interest you too. His publicist sent me a copy to review in July and I’ve been derelict in my duty. Soon, though . . .

In the meantime:

7. nuvofelt - October 10, 2012

Less IS more, but I have the gift of ‘waffle’ 🙂

nrhatch - October 10, 2012

Waffles are delicious . . . especially with maple syrup! 😉

One of my favorite quotes that pops up from WordPress:
“I have made this letter longer, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter.” ~ Blaise Pascal

The quote often misattributed to Mark Twain is by the 17th-century French philosopher and mathematician, Blaise Pascal (1623-62). The original French version was: “Je n’ai fait cette lettre – ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte”

A great reminder to me to keep distilling until only the essential remains.

8. 2e0mca - October 10, 2012

Depends what I’m reading… General Fiction – I want the author to paint a picture that is detailed but lets me use my imagination to fill in the colors. Science Fiction / Supernatural story – I just want my imagination led in a manner likely to really get the hairs twitching on the back of the neck. Technical books – I want the details to be hard and accurate – no room for imagination here, just enthusiastic interest. Political – want enough facts to allow deduction of possible / probable background abuses, etc of parliamentary / big company power 🙂

nrhatch - October 10, 2012

Good points, Martin. It does matter what type of document we are reading. I wouldn’t want to play “fill in the blanks” when reading a “How To” or “DIY” book.

And I prefer cookbooks that provide a complete list of ingredients and cooking temps . . . with no guesswork involved. 😉

2e0mca - October 10, 2012

LoL – you’re welcome to be confused by my recipes any time 🙂

nrhatch - October 10, 2012

I love reading a recipe and coming across an instruction for a unique and unusual ingredient (e.g., a truffula) that is NOT mentioned elsewhere in the recipe by name, quantity, or preparation:

Stir continuously
While adding the truffula tree

Wait? What?!

9. Piglet in Portugal - October 11, 2012

Which do you prefer . . . reading a treatise where everything is spelled out, often in excruciating detail? Or a more broadbrushed approach which challenges you to put on your thinking cap and think? Depends on the subject matter. For example I was trying to get a difinitive yes or now as to whether dogs were allowed on Blue Flag beaches in Portugal after an argument I had with a woman and her two excitable dogs which were ***** on the beach. I suppose the **** is another example of reading between the lines or between the words and letting the reader fill in his own word.

nrhatch - October 11, 2012

Bwahaha! They were barking on the beach . . . no, wait, they were running on the beach . . . no, no, they were chasing kids on the beach.

Oh . . . I know what they were doing. 😳

10. sweetdaysundertheoaks - October 11, 2012

I would say generally I like the less is more concept!
Great post Nancy.

nrhatch - October 11, 2012

Thanks, Pix! I love Quotes and Aphorisms ~ they’re potent and portable, packing a punch in few words.

11. sufilight - October 11, 2012

Wow, I Iove this analogy! This is my favorite topic, emptying, simplifying… and now I am adding distillation to my spiritual vocabulary. 🙂 And I prefer nuggets of truth than a heavy volume of words that can become mentally exhausting and not very clear.

nrhatch - October 11, 2012

Thanks, Marie. Distilling things to their essence makes them easier to remember.

If I attempted to memorize an over-inflated treatise, it would become a mixed up muddled up mess. But I can commit a few pertinent quotes to memory ~ even at my advanced age. 😉

12. Pocket Perspectives - October 11, 2012

“distilling to the essence”… thanks for doing that for us all! Sometimes I read books and think how nice it would be to just have a bulleted list in the back of the book to present the ideas more concisely.

nrhatch - October 11, 2012

I agree! I often took notes when reading books to give myself a “cheat sheet” to remember the key points.

13. Three Well Beings - October 11, 2012

The “distilling process” as you describe it is really a great way to describe what happens when we let go of the giant need to be understood. It’s taken me a long time to even begin to understand that, and I still struggle with it, but I totally agree that it is the way to go for a lighter, positively reflective journey. I read your comment about university teaching, Nancy, and although I don’t teach, my university position does require me to continually “over define” everything. It undoubtedly spills into my communication and relationship building. I think your analogy today is going to stick with me and help me along the way! 🙂

nrhatch - October 12, 2012

Yes! We stop explaining who we are and allow our words and deeds to speak for themselves . . . distilled to their essence

Now, this is just my unvarnished opinion, but . . . I expect that colleges and universities are “long-winded” because professors got into the habit of spoon-feeding pupils non-nutritive esoteric nonsense while standing on pedestals waiting to be worshiped as demi-gods. :mrgreen:

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