THAT SHAPES THE EYE
Can easily open the Drawer
That lets the spirit rise up and wear
Its favorite costume of Mirth and laughter.
When the mind is consumed with
Remembrance of Him
Something divine happens to the Heart
That Shapes the hand and tongue
And eye into
The word Love.
in The Gift: Poems by Hafiz, the Great Sufi Master (Compass)
trans. David Ladinsky
Photo Credit: https://www.littlemiracles.com.au/fostering-your-childs-imagination/
This morning I feasted on a video from American Public Television entitled, Borders. PBS describes it this way:
“BORDERS explores the relationships and influences that Mexican and American craft artists have on each other and our cultures.” You can enjoy it here:
As I luxuriated in the rich, intense colors and the spiritual meaning inherent in the folk art I determined to learn more and to incorporate Mexican culture in my life more. Then I was slapped in the face by Donald Trump’s assessment of the Mexican people and I wept. This poem, Mother Hospitality, emerged as a spiritual practice to deal with my waning hope.
Caged within the borders of his fear
the xenophobe hunkers down untouched
by the diffused difference of cultures
casting bits of light on uncaged seekers outside.
Mother Hospitality tootles across the globe
picking up variegated pieces of light and love.
Her basket swings blithely on her arm in rhythm
with the hope that beats in her heart.
She watches for signs of cracking
then, quick as she can, tosses in a sliver of light
Enough to rattle the cage.
© rita h kowats 7-24-18
Photo Credit: free download from https://kathleenhalme.com/explore/cage%20clipart%20person/
Can hopeless Americans regain hope by personifying their country as the Prodigal Son?….
Luke 15:11-32 (NIV)
The Parable of the Lost Son
I am depressed about the behavior of my country towards its most vulnerable citizens and towards world citizens. These juxtaposed readings, however, give me hope that it is possible to return to more compassionate behavior. We have flown the coup and out there we are testing the limits of some of America’s cherished values: independence and freedom. Hopefully we will learn again to be interdependent.
While my country is away from itself, my job is to “become more of the change I want to happen,” to learn and be interdependent. My job is to continue to hold up a mirror to my country about how selfish behavior affects others. My job is to trust that my country can and will come home to itself. My job is to welcome and forgive when she is ready to come home.
Photo Credit: http://sonorannews.com/2017/06/29/enjoy-cool-safe-fourth-july-scottsdale/
Dove: “God Through Anne Terri With The Holy Spirit <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/32289838@N04/39537614341″>Dove in Theo Sur Mer</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
Our attempts at self-protection
cause us to live
in a cramped corner of our lives.
Frank Ostaseski “A Friend until the End”
Lion’s Roar July 2018
Senescence has overtaken my back, but I am releasing pain and regaining flexibility by doing PNF stretches and swimming. Compared to five months ago, I am literally a walking miracle. I often meditate in the water, where this analogy came to me.
A miracle for the back
Why not for the soul?
Breathing out ego
Breathing in light
Synced simultaneous soul-stretches
Creating space for the divine.
© Rita H Kowats 6-25-18
Hour Glass Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/en/hourglass-sands-of-time-woman-man-1356070/
My postage-stamp-sized floors shine,
Reflecting my clean and polished soul
(“Cleanliness is next to godliness?”)
Sitting still I bask in the shine while I can-
Before splotches of spinach and sin
Soil soul and floor yet again.
Alas, the leaf blower beneath my window
Is the bell calling me
Back to mindfulness
(I hate this infernal cacaphony of chaos)
Breathing in, I welcome peace
Breathing out, I release this edginess.
Breathing in, I rest in Presence.
Breathing out, I release anger.
Giving thanks for this day humanly lived.
© Rita H Kowat 6-13-18
photo credits: mop and bucket <a href=”http://worldartsme.com/”>WorldArtsMe</a>
leaf blower https://unhealingmedic.deviantart.com/art/Leaf-Blower-289176773
When we are going toward someone we say
you are just like me
your thoughts are my brothers and sisters
word matches word how easy to be together.
When we are leaving someone we say
how strange you are
we cannot communicate
we can never agree
how hard, hard and weary to be together.
We are not different nor alike
but each strange in our leather bodies
sealed in skin and reaching out clumsy hands
and loving is an act
that cannot outlive
the open hand
the open eye
the door in the chest standing open.
This poem drew me into meditation this morning and I have strolled through its many nuances throughout the day. We allow the other’s difference to grow a wedge between us because we don’t understand it, and we can’t control what we don’t understand. We would rather muck around in the divide than risk the outstretched hand and the open door in the chest.
In their book, Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greewald describe their study which concluded that every human being fills in what we don’t know with what we think we know. In observing myself, I see that it is my ego that fills in what I don’t know, rather than the self that lives in divine presence. This self is strong enough to welcome that which is strange in the other, that which reaches out with clumsy hands.
My spiritual practice comes in the form of a pause. I pause before I judge. I breathe in respect and release fear. I breathe in love and release judgment. Once in a while it works. Our human instinct is to protect our ego, but the pause interrupts the knee-jerk impulse to insert it into the strange, unknown spaces of the other. The pause lets in the Spirit who places clumsy hand in clumsy hand.
Photo Credit: Photopin.com
photo credit: Michael W. May <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/14609664@N06/5376777351″>o is for open</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
If you have never seen a Great Blue Heron walking, I assure you, it is quite amusing. These magnificent birds are as comical as we are in our daily ego-grasping endeavors. If we don’t laugh, we cry, so let’s have a laugh at our expense.
photo credit: DFChurch <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/77056186@N00/25777120120″>Little Blue</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>
On my way home I passed the girls and stopped to chat. They showed me each new leaf on a shrub they had discovered and their brother told me the story of the Tyrannosaurus Rex that lumbered across his T- shirt.
from “A Brief for the Defense” in Refusing Heaven, Jack Gilbert
We must risk delight. We can do without
pleasure, but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness
in the ruthless furnace of this world. To make injustice the
only measure of our attention is to praise
photo credit: James Bowe <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/29848680@N08/41372593744″>Buttercups</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>