11 February 2011

A valentine to destruction...

Somewhere in Maryland where red foxes live - Jan. 2011
"Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation
can that which is indestructible in us be found." Pema Chodron

Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Hello again blog,
How I’ve missed you!

I’ve recently been inspired by Rumi’s poem, The Chickpea to Cook. It was read to us during a meditation retreat I attended over new years, then recited again to me over the phone last week by a friend in New York.  You can find the poem online to digest it in its entirety, but to paraphrase what the poem discusses and its meaning to me: the chickpea who is about to boiled thinks he’s been tortured by the cook, but in reality the cook isn’t maliciously killing the chickpea, simply adding more spice to it, allowing it to mix with other flavorful ingredients and give people the gift of something good to eat.  At the end the cook says that the chickpea will "beg to be boiled more and more", to churn until eventually meeting the infinite light of final rebirth.

The poem is essentially an homage to that which destroys us, or rather a challenge on our perception of being destroyed. Everyday we feel tortured, by our bosses, partners, friends, finances, the past, the future. The immediate instinct is to run away, shut down, zone out, or do anything that will instantly eliminate the discomfort of being boiled. Our call is to recognize that it isn’t real, and learn something about ourselves…marinate in the spices, if you will. My personal challenge during fearful moments is in letting go of the unproductive dialogue in my head that seems to ramble on and on like an unwelcome gossiping neighbor. Before I know it, this uninspiring neurotic chit-chat has executed a coup on my spirit and I’m left believing a delusional and untrue story about myself.  On the delicate occasions when my awareness kicks in, I breathe deeply and settle into whatever situation I find myself in and the chatter melts away.  There is no self-inflicted judgment, brokenness or flawed conditioning.  Its such a powerful space to rest in - when you can mindfully feel the flames, jump off the ledge and let yourself be destroyed over and over again. It all starts with the breath.  Go into it, welcome the evolution.  I’ve been hearing my friend’s voice as a mantra in the background that says, “just let yourself be boiled.”

So, this Valentine’s Day I’d like to make a toast to all that which boils us - to not having the answers, 12 hour work days, deadlines, gaining weight, indigestion, wrinkles and sleepless nights. Thank you for making me stronger and helping me marinate in all the spices that are tossed my way.  May we be mixed, shaken, tossed and stirred along the path of the open heart.

~ With bhakti ~

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