Saying For Today: Bowing to softens the dark, hard places inside and sensitizes our beings to the gift of others sharing this amazing community of Earth~and~Sky with us.
*Brian Wilcox. 'A Gathering of Quiet'.
When circumstances snatched my prior realities away from me, it was useless to try to get them back or substitute some contrivance in their stead. All I could do was bow to the situation. And when I did, I freed myself from my part in the drama, watching it unfold as if it had nothing to do with me.
*Lin Jensen. Together Under One Roof.
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when you bow to you are sacralizing what might appear all but sacred through respect it becomes holy to you a transformation within you occurs this is a means to live with life, to live a sacramental, or sacralized, life
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I had been writing a friend, a few hours before, about the feeling of lostness in transition. I was being-with the process, not personalizing mostly. Yet, Jenson's words intimated a further dimension, of bowing to. I stood in the bookstore reading the words, and they made sense. I read once and again and again.
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Sayings like "letting go" or "accepting" or "just give it to God" or "just trust" can sound cold and trite. Other words can sound insensitive, like "God has a purpose" or "someday we will understand." That I am paying for past karma does not help much either, when someone I care for deeply abandons me, I am let go from a job I relished, my house burns to the ground, or someone I dearly love is notified of a terminal illness.
When we feel life is out-of-control, or we are falling-apart, or in a situation wherein we feel uncomfortable, possibly no explanation is needed, no theorizing, no theology, nothing said at all. Just silence.
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The bow to? Well, bowing physically or in spirit, that is something else: poetic beyond words. That is not just acceptance or letting go. That is not merely wishful thinking or positive thinking. Bowing to is respect, is reverence, sometimes a deep-felt sense of awe.
Could we bow to our confused selves? Could we bow to the sense of being lost? Could we bow to loneliness? Feeling unloved? Betrayed? Desperate? To anger? Hate? Jealousy? Malice? Could we do that? What difference might that make? Here, we are not hugging suffering close or trying to push it away, we are acknowledging our humanness, our shared brokenness.
Yet, life is so much more than suffering; life is as much pleasure, if we allow. We can get comfortable with misery; or better, uncomfortably comfortable. This, while we feel at unease with joy and pleasure. How about bowing to the good feelings? The pleasing tastes, sounds, sights? The grace of being touched or touching? The smell of a delicious scent? The feel of a lover's hand on your body? The comfort of sunlight? The glowing of stars at night? Could we bow in wonder to the sense of being loved? Feeling blessed? Feeling alive? Suddenly perceiving being surrounded by an immense mystery? A sudden moment of spontaneous generosity? The uprising of tears of happiness? Could we bow to all this? What difference might it make?
Could our bowing be an act of love, as much or more than any time-honored rite? Bowing to yourself? The one you have seen as the enemy? The world? What difference might this make? What if we could do this bowing, rather than clinging to accusation, spite, and continuing to feel a need to blame someone or some others?
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What we bow to, that we nurture. Within us are many kinds of seeds. If I give undue attention to anger, I am watering the seed of anger. If I give kind attention to forgiveness, I am watering the seed of compassion. So, bowing to is like watering, and we can have a garden of complaint or gratitude, a garden of resentment or appreciation, a garden of gloom or joy. Hence, while we need not to push away suffering, this does not mean hovering over it and nursing it either.
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I recall speaking to a congregation of mine about respect for everyone, after the falling of the twin towers in 2001. While many persons in my country where depicting a whole group within a religion, Muslims, as the enemy, speaking as though every Muslim was evil, I urged respect for others and compassionate, insightful equality. I chose to challenge the people to grace beyond the prejudices that deny the courage to love in a time of immense suffering. My words appeared to fall on stony ground; only one person spoke to me of appreciation for the message, a visitor to our church. I was saying that day, "Why not bow to the human community?" Is our world better for not bowing in respect to the pain of such happenings, acting rather to focus on blame, even in the name of "God"? So, even the suffering of a whole country can be an opportunity to become a more kind, compassionate people, rather than water the seeds of self-righteous blame that not only does not evoke healing within the people but unfairly caricatures another people. We could have chosen a wiser path, that of bowing to our Muslim brothers and sisters.
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Bowing to is not permissive, not denial, not a moral relativism. Bowing is an act of courageous affirmation, allowing compassion to arise both for others and ourselves, for this world, for every creature in suffering or pleasure. So, why not bow to? This way of living will shift our world, even if a little, and enough persons living this respect will make this world a kinder, more gentle, more inclusive place to live for everyone ~ yes, for everyone. Bowing to softens the dark, hard places inside and sensitizes our beings to the gift of others sharing this amazing community of Earth~and~Sky with us. Bowing fosters affection and veneration for Nature as an interdependant, wholly communion.
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