Monday, 2 January 2012

Go Naked, and Dance!


Today is day four of my blog challenge, the sun is shining and I'm full of the joy of good feeling thoughts!

I have been thinking about the purpose of memory, it seems to me that there has been a world wide tendency to use memory in a rather poor way, by this I mean that some humans (including me) have become caught up in judging new situations as they arise whilst wearing the glasses of yesterday.
Are we a race of human beings or  a bunch of historians? I recently read a rather beautiful book about parenting, (Naomi Aldort - Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves) and I was astonished by the effect of one of the suggested practices on my relationship to the other beings around me. The practice is, or my interpretation of it, when faced with a situation to have my reaction internally and then when that is over to review the situation as if I was a brand new human with no history of this kind of thing......

For example:
My cats have completely shredded my favorite curtains.
History based response: "Arrrrgggghhh my beautiful curtains!!!, wretched cats are always trashing my things, where are they? I'm fed up with them, they don't care about me! I'm angry. I want revenge!" - How do I feel?: ghastly.

Yes while it's true they that were my favorite curtains and that the cats have trashed quite a few of my things,  imagine for a moment if I was a brand new being with fully functioning compassion, humour, and perhaps present eyesight and had no previous experience of cats, my things being trashed or attachment to 'favorite' things:

"Oh! those curtains have been shredded, and here are my cats with curtain fluff in their claws. Are my cats ok? Something must have scared them to behave in that way" (they are not kittens). And, on closer inspection of 'my favorite curtains' "these curtains are really old and quite faded, maybe it's time for some new ones. Thank you cats."

How do I feel?   Relaxed, compassionate - perhaps my cats were scared, I love my cats they bring me a lot of pleasure, anyway its just an example, I can think of numerous situations and circumstances where my history based responses have left me feeling angry, hurt, unconsidered, or any number of other miserable feelings and not only that but the other being involved, would often suffer my history laden response, with no frame of reference as to why I could react so extremely to an ordinary situation.

Imagine for a moment if we could see each moment through new eyes? I am reminded as I write this of a poem I have loved for many years by Lalla, a 14th century Kashmiri poet and mystic, she wrote:

The soul, like the moon,
is new, and always new again.

And I have seen the ocean
continuously creating.

Since I scoured my mind
and my body, I too, Lalla,
am new, each moment new.

My teacher told me one thing,
Live in the soul.

When that was so,
I began to go naked,
and dance.

I have loved this poem for years, perhaps at first because I loved the idea of Lalla frolicking naked through the 14th century, for she actually did go naked and dance, I liked too the idea of living in the soul, but its only recently that I have really understood the idea of being each moment new. Waking up every morning new and seeing with fresh eyes the beauty of the sky, noticing my baby's wispy hair every time I see her, being truly thankful for every occasion that someone does something nice for me habitually as if it were the first time and then being able to really thank them whole heartedly. What a beautiful world we would live in if we could approach every situation a-fresh, with no history, open-heartedly and with the enthusiasm of an explorer in a new world - I think that is what it means, to live in the soul.
I'm not suggesting that we all start going naked and dancing, although on reflection perhaps I should be, no, I'm suggesting that if we all start using our wonderful memories as a resource, a library of images and sensations, that which I believe they were created for - to remember all of the wonders of the world, to dwell on them and to enliven our souls in dark times or just times of boredom or dullness, then we really would be much healthier happier beings.

So here are some of the images which I am thankful for from my internal library:

I am thankful for the beauty and fun I have enjoyed playing in deep snow
I am thankful for the magical phenomenon of rainbows
I am thankful for peaches
I am thankful to remember my daughters first word "moon"
I am thankful for the time in the outback when a dust storm filled our tent with sand
I am thankful for the time when I was tricked into going down such a fast water slide that I thought I would die
I am thankful for the time my sister convinced me to ride a fairground ride which felt like a tumble dryer
I am thankful for the time I ate too much wasabi
I am thankful for the lovely warm memories of my grandparents who have passed on
I am thankful for my mental image library

love Klara

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