Over the past several weeks in Gaia Shamanism’s free online journey circle, we have journeyed as seeds planted into the earth, visited a still lake at the center of our circle, and built of fire of love and devotion on the shores of this lake.
Through these smaller journeys, we have been on a larger journey up from the root chakra (ground), through the sacral chakra (water) and the third chakra seat of the will (fire), to arrive at the heart (air).
The offering I would like to suggest that we make this week is of an empty bowl. In its emptiness, may these bowls represent our intention to grow hearts open and spacious, able to hold the good and bad, alike, in a coherent and compassionate unity.
Perhaps you are familiar with the tradition of the begging bowl in Buddhism? Each day, monks leave their monasteries with a begging bowl to receive contributions of food from the community. Here, the spiritual life is yoked to the posture of humility even when experiencing the urgency of survival.
For us to think of our hearts as begging bowls is to adopt a posture of humility: whatever we encounter during the day is our food to chew on, learn from, and use to grow more expansive hearts.
But spiritual practice in these times has an edge to it, not unlike those monks with begging bowls. To carry your heart into the day, open and in your hands, is to be made aware of your dependence on the larger community for survival.
That can be scary in these times. And it can be used as fuel for liberation.
I propose a journey to experience the inner reality of our hearts: what condition is your begging bowl in?
An empty begging bowl allows one to receive the fullness of life, but we tend to experience emptiness as a vulnerable state. In what ways is Life calling you to emptiness now? How might you learn to embrace it? Is there anything you need to let go of to make more room in your heart?
We will offer the empty bowls of our hearts to our wise and well Elders of Spirit, blood, and place. Let us meet with one or a few of these Elders, listen, let go of what no longer serves us on the journey, and receive healing and expansion in the energetic center of our beings.
In other words, anything that brings about an expanded capacity of heart and compassion for ourselves or others is fair game for this journey.
If you would like to join us in the circle on Wednesday, May 13, at 4 pm PDT, do email firstname.lastname@example.org.