Tag Archives: compassion

… hands …

Allow one hand to caress the other, feel the fine sensations through the skin of your fingertips, their manual perfection, capacity to reach out, touch and sense the rough and smooth, warmth and cold. The power of hands to hold, give, heal, remember, receive, express feelings and ideas, inner states – hands that trace shapes and yield to shapes, strong hands that build and destroy, and skilful hands that wield the tool, the brush and pen …

Käthe Kollwitz,  'Zertretene' 1900

Käthe Kollwitz, ‘Zertretene’ 1900

Käthe Kollwitz - Mütter, Krieg, 1919

Käthe Kollwitz – Mütter, Krieg, 1919

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two drawings by Käthe Kollwitz (July 1867 – April 1945) show the incredibly gentle hands that protect – from a collection of her work in a ‘Die Blauen Bücher’ series, discovered by a friend in a second-hand bookshop in St Just, Cornwall. She posted the book to me this week. I was reminded of the plight of mothers in situations where disease and violence are, once again, out of control. And – how so often, dogmatic politics, religious or otherwise, have programmed generations to de-value the body – its wisdom, beauty and need for expression.

And there remains the question, what is being taken out of our hands? Here a wonderful video I found at the National Film Board Canada site: Faces of the Hand

And the lines from two poets whose tool of passion was the pen.

From ‘Leaves of Grass’ by Walt Whitman

… I am the poet of the Body and I am the poet of the Soul,
The pleasures of heaven are with me and the pains of hell are with me,
The first I graft and increase upon myself, the latter I translate into new tongue ….

From ‘The Marriage between Heaven and Hell’ by William Blake

… The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom …

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… meeting the other …

None but nature could have written a better curriculum for becoming human …

 

Attend for a moment to you breathing. If you’re aware of heaviness in any part of your body, breathe the colour of water under a blue sky into that part and let the tension drift into the earth with the out-breath.

In your mind’s eye, find yourself in a meadow, abundant with scented wild flowers. Nearby is the outcrop of a mountain and a welcoming dry cave stirs your curiosity. Entering the cave, you find a spacious passage from which comes a luminous glow. All of a sudden you’re walking on air, and – like a feather on a breeze – you’re floating, floating gently downward into velvety twilight. In your heart you know you’re guided towards a special encounter.

A waft of fresh air brushes your skin. You find yourself standing in a soft beam of light from high above at the centre of a dome-shaped cavern. The circular wall of the dome has tunnels that lead in all directions. You must choose one. Be patient.

White Window, St Cathrine's Chapel - more lowresWithin your reach sits a small bronze bell. Lift the bell and give it a slight nudge. As the clear sound of the bell reverberates in your heart, you’re drawn to one particular tunnel and you know this is the one to follow.

Warm air greets you with otherworldly scents, the crystal walls of the passage glimmer. Soon brightness appears ahead, momentarily blinding. You step forward and slowly make out a landscape of rolling hills with the sun reflecting in a silver stream that meanders towards a distant sea. 

Close by, you notice a strong presence under a solitary tree and feel your heart chime in perfect harmony with the presence. A near transparent human form steps out and mirrors your innermost being. Eyes, radiating love and acceptance, completely affirm you. For an instant you are – you are natural mind, pure consciousness.

A soft voice says: Where is the other?

Pondering the question, a shrouded figure moves, from hiding behind your back, boldly into view. It is a repulsive creature and you want to shush it away.

Greetings to your other, the soft voice of your essence says. Then you realise what the apparition represents, everything you reject and prefer to keep hidden from your consciousness, all you find objectionable, embarrassing and unacceptable in others, and in yourself.

Understanding happens. By denying your inferior being you are also ruled by its whims. And realisation comes – of your body’s wisdom, and of knowledge gained from human frailty you were too proud to value. You see with fresh eyes  and extend the very love and acceptance you absorbed from your essence. The other straightens, lightens. There’s a new respect, an affirmation, a softening.

Turn and look again into the deep compassionate eyes of your essence, absorb this capacity for tolerance in your heart, allow the healing.

Then bow to your essence and return the way you came. Give a nod of acknowledgement to your other, so the shrouded figure won’t slink behind, become resentful and trip you up. Let it walk in view, accepted, even with gratitude for its imperfections and its treasures.

*    *    *

Continuing from my last two posts, this is further classic theme for an inner journey, usually adjusted to the context in which it is used. I kept the narrative short and succinct. Even if you don’t enter the journey experientially, alone, or read to by friend, and allow your own images to emerge, the scenario might spark reflections, and drawings or writings for your diary or chapbook.

It’s humbling to recognise our flaws and the blame we assign to others, and yet, no matter how many veils are falling from our eyes, there’ll always be more projections to be owned, more grudges to let go of, more misunderstandings to tolerate, more hurts to absolve, and more to be embodied of what feeds us from dark roots. Our struggles with conflict and contradiction polish the heart, feed our imagination and create our realities. None but nature could have written a better curriculum for becoming human.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9NrAGJEMnHE          Marie Louise von Franz – The Way of the Dream 2.1 – Our Shadow Knows

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious. – C G Jung, CW 13: Alchemical Studies. P.335

Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. At all counts, it forms an unconscious snag, thwarting our most well-meant intentions. – C G Jung

If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility. – H W Longfellow

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