So the other day I was exploring over on Facebook and found this video about how you can cut a glass bottle to make a cup or a vase or whatever. Kind of neat actually, a bit of history a bit of do-it-yourself-ness and answers the question of what to do with some of those really interesting bottles I seem to find and hate the idea of throwing away. Basically you place the bottle onto a turntable, make a small scratch with a diamond tipped tool, and then apply heat (like with a butane torch lighter) around the circumference of the bottle in line with the scratch mark, add just a little pressure and Voila!
The heat causes the the crack to expand all the way around the circumference… then you just have to grind or sand down the sharp edge.
Now, later that night I found myself musing about what a perfect metaphor this was for how easy it can be to be beaten down or broken in life sometimes… a little nick or scratch,.. a little heat… a little pressure and… SMASH… your an emotional or spiritual wreck….
Yeah, I am a big bag of laughs sometimes aren’t I?
Then, like a ray of light through heavy clouds, I remembered about Kintsugi, which is the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with lacquer work that incorporates gold dust. The pieces are put back together, the cracks and fault-lines are filled with gold, and the broken vessel is repaired. Many practitioners of the Japanese Tea Ceremony will incorporate Kintsugi pieces into their sets.
My mind turned to thoughts of how regular Spiritual practice can help heal us in the times we are broken. I also thought about how in some respects, Spiritual practice, if your doing it right… helps break us. Growth does not come without some pain or struggle… Spiritual practices… the best ones anyway… they seem to require us to face what makes us afraid… to deal with the difficulties and fears and challenges and to then move past them.
At some point in the last few years I started to set aside a lot of my practices because I was engaging in them regularly…not to reach out and up to connect to the world or the Divine… but to endure the everyday… and I felt that that was somehow wrong or profaning the practices or …disrespecting them?
I can see now that that was SO damn wrong-headed of me!
It is through practice that we can be open to the healing, to wisdom, to inspiration. It is NOT about not getting hurt, or broken. It’s about picking up the pieces and finding a way to make them whole again! Day in and day out. Even when we aren’t feeling it, or when all it seems to be doing is making us feel a bit more settled… practice is not about some cross-roads moment spiritual experience with lights and fireworks and whatever. That can be one of the occasional benefits yes, but that should not be why we are practicing. Its about finding the gold dust in life and repairing the cracks in the world with it.
Pax / Geoffrey