Meditation: Everything Is Special.
• As you clean your home, imagine that everything you encounter is an externalisation of yourself.
• With this in mind, treat everything you touch with reverence.
• Some people like to imagine that everything they encounter around the house is a part of themselves, whereas others prefer a more material analogy; for example, treating everything as though it were fashioned from a rare and precious gem!
• Whichever approach you settle on, try to keep this focus for the duration of the housework, and perhaps extend throughout the day as part of a longer exploration.
Meditation taken from the book Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
This is a lovely thought experiment to try while tidying your house. Or your office, or your car. It is taken from the weekend section of my new book Inhale. Exhale. Repeat.
On one level this meditation works because when we treat things nicely, we tend to feel more respectful of them and more grateful for them. This brings a good feeling which is its own reward. While treating the things we encounter as though they were special, we might find more loveliness in them and pleasure in what we are doing. We may even find new and interesting ways of cleaning!
Often times, but not all the time, we could also have a tendency to feel ourselves as separate from the world. We may feel as the poet John Donne describes, like ‘an island, entire unto itself;’ And when this is the case we may be a little less interested in other little islands, like things, cars or people.
And so on another level, this meditation also works because by doing it we are exploring the idea that while things (cars, desks, floors, people) appear to be outside of us, and separate from us, they are indeed rather intimately connected with us. You could say, part of us.
If we live a little with the idea: —what I see, is all part of me—it may make cleaning more fun. It may also open a new and interesting conversation within us as to what ‘me’ is and what ‘other’ is.
The poet Rumi once said ‘everywhere the eye falls you see the face of god.’ I don’t know what Rumi meant by this because I haven’t asked him (he was alive during the 1300’s.) However I know what it means to me. And that is this: everything that is seen, while various in shape and form, is fashioned from the same great stuff of life. And what’s more, whatever is looking out through my eyes, whatever it is that is doing the seeing, is itself, that same wonder. The one who wonders, and the wonders of life are not separate.
I came across this poem called Footnote To Howl, by Allen Ginsberg. I wondered if he was talking about a similar sentiment. What do you think?
“Everything is holy! everybody’s holy! everywhere is holy! everyday is in eternity! Everyman’s an angel!
The bum’s as holy as the seraphim! the madman is holy as you my soul are holy!
The typewriter is holy the poem is holy the voice is holy the hearers are holy the ecstasy is holy!”
Who Am I
In meditation it is popular to ask the question, who am I? This topic is explored more deeply in the section of my new book headed ‘Who am I, am I Bianca Jagger?’ If you are keen to look into it more.
To find out what we are we could start by discerning what we are not. This is sometimes called the path of discrimination. You might say: I’m not (in essence) my age, my title, my profession my marital status, my weight. All these conditions change you see, and if they were to change, you would still feel yourself to be ‘you’.
In time, through exploring the things you are not (just like in the Bianca Jagger exercise) you can get a clearer idea of what you are.
As well as the path of discrimination we can also have fun on the path of inclusion; where we admit to ourselves, those things that we essentially ‘are’. For example, you might say: I am these feet, I am this person who has a life and a job and a haircut. And I am also, so much more. I am the kitchen floor that I’m cleaning, I am the trees, the wind, the sea and the birdsong. It is all a part of me.
These two lines of enquiry (discrimination and inclusion) can be ever so worthwhile to explore.
The insight that these two paths seem to bring, to me at least is that all is one, and part of the other. Everything is as holy as the next. Mind you, as equal in holiness as I sense them each to be, I still prefer sunbathing to housework.
To conclude this blog, here bellow is another poem I found by Rumi, that is just totally fabulous. I hope you like it and that your housework becomes the doorway to a million ecstasies.
If you have enjoyed this topic, you might also like this blog, on the difference between wine bars and churches.
If anyone asks you
how the perfect satisfaction
of all our sexual wanting
will look, lift your face
When someone mentions the gracefulness
of the nightsky, climb up on the roof
and dance and say,
If anyone wants to know what “spirit” is,
or what “God’s fragrance” means,
lean your head toward him or her.
Keep your face there close.
When someone quotes the old poetic image
about clouds gradually uncovering the moon,
slowly loosen knot by knot the strings
of your robe.