My meditation practice this morning reminded me always to act with love and kindness no matter what’s going on. I’ve been practicing the “passage meditation” technique that Eknath Easwaran describes in his book; the passage I’m working on right now is a line from a Rumi poem. The passage reads:
Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground.
I chose this passage because for some reason it moved me very deeply, and meditating on the passage has been both pleasant and instructive. Until this morning, I had been thinking about “the beauty we love” as external sensory beauty, like a song or a sunset, and I’d been interpreting the poem as saying that we should try to incorporate the feeling of that beauty into our daily lives. Today, repeating the line to myself, I realized that “the beauty we love” can also mean simply kindness, gentleness, and peacefulness, and that when we love these things, they can become a part of “what we do”.
F and I have been in the middle of moving for the past two weeks; it has been grueling and stressful and messy, and exhausting both physically and mentally. In the midst of all that, it’s easy for me to become grumpy, but instead I want to try to cultivate gratitude: gratitude that we were able to buy a nice house, gratitude that we had a beautiful apartment for the past two years and the means to fill it with so much cool stuff, gratitude that I’m doing this with an amazingly wonderful partner, gratitude for the good friends who carried heavy boxes when they were expressly told they wouldn’t have to carry heavy boxes, and gratitude for our parents, who take us shopping at Lowe’s for home improvement materials and freely give their time and energy to help us.
When I am tired and sweaty and filthy, and itchy from my dozen bug bites and the thick layer of bug repellent chemicals on my skin, and annoyed at the fact that the seller didn’t disclose that our yard is apparently some sort of wildlife sanctuary for virulent nasty little bastard insects, I can work on being grateful to have a big yard and strong arms to work with. (I’m working on practicing ahimsa towards the bugs, but that’s a little harder.) When I can’t stop thinking about the million things I need to do this week, at home and at the office and to prepare for my upcoming yoga weekend, I need to practice acceptance of the fact that the train broke down and there’s nothing I can do about it but sit there on the broken train and wait, and practice non-attachment to the results. It doesn’t do any good to blame myself for not getting ready in time for the early train, or for not planning better or packing better; I am where I am right now, and blaming and whining won’t do me any good, but making the best of things will make me more content with the situation. In all of this, I’ll get there when I get there. In the meantime, I can try to make my chaotic, messy life into something beautiful by my actions.