Friday, September 08, 2006
the singing bowl
hope commented on the family altar post and asked about the bowl in the picture above. it is a 'singing bowl' from nepal. liam brought it back with him when he was there a couple of years ago. it is made to ring like a bell when struck, or can be 'played' by ringing the lip of the bowl with the wooden puja (stick).
it plays different roles on the altar, the first being to remind me that we have much to learn from other cultures about centering and prayer. i think much has been lost to the church in healthy forms of silence and meditation. also, as a woman raised in farmland, white-bread, middle america i constantly want to remind myself that the world is far bigger than my own experience and i have much to learn from other cultures and peoples.
i also use it to break the silence after prayer. i am finding much life in engaging all of my senses in worship and this allows me to hear my prayers in a way i had not experienced before.
another important part of our altar is that all of the elements are represented. sometimes the bowl holds water and floats a blossom. right now it is holding ashes from a guided practice of writing down a fear and burning it. it was during the late winter when jobs were no where to be found and we were feeling the pull of 'what have we done moving here!'. those ashes are the ones used in the utmost desperation felt in the pain of that season and i angrily smeared them on my face, rending my shirt and crying out to god, begging to not be forgotten. they are a reminder that we weren't. (wow that took me back to that time instantly and the depth of emotion is seen trickling down my face even now.)
when the water is not there we have the fish liam drew on the rock while at dawsonwood cottage in the hospitable care of connie's husband rob while we healed from another dry season.
as i stated in the previous post, each item here is a sacred reminder to me of our path, where we came from and where we are headed. so, while a bit cluttered and un-simple it is all so treasured and vital for now.