Monday, February 7, 2011
Everything Offers A Waking Bell
Lance Kinseth, Awakening Sound/Kakuon, 2011
Bells, finger cymbals, chanting are often found in yoga practice. Thich Nhat Hanh offers a gatha to say when hearing a bell. We can begin with a gesture of gratitude, a bow, and say, “Listen, Listen, This wonderful sound brings me back to my true home.” Our true home is in this present moment, where “peace and stability and joy” reside.
Every sensation offers a waking bell—not only sounds, but also flowers or rain, clouds and grass, even washing dishes or caring for another, a smile, even each breath. Every breath offers freshness.
Our problems offer bells. Very simply, for example, when we leave this practice and go on our way, a red stoplight offers a bell. We may sense the red light to be a problem because it stops us, and wish it were green, and wait for the change with at least a little sense of frustration. But we make the problem. At the red light, we might bring our awareness to our breath and calm. Everything is a bell and everything offers peace. We begin to find a way to allow even problems to blossom to opportunities.
“Bells” occur even when there is next to no sensation, such as not having a toothache, clean water that we might take for granted, clean clothing, a warm room. Everything offers. Everything is a “bell.”
And all of these bells offer a direct, immediate experience of peace. Immanent, the peace of the space in which we practice. As Thich Nhat Hanh admonishes us, peace is every step and not a goal.
The calmness and quiet of restorative practice offers us a way to listen to our experience and to hear what is being offered. Perhaps then, in return, we might offer the bell of a smile or a physical or mental bow of gratitude.