Build your home on foundations of friendship
let it rise up to meet the cool moon
in a roof peeked like palms in prayer
held by walls of joy and compassion
painted with laughter and tears
with its heart an open door
through which all life
may safely come and go
with no other key than love
Sometimes, when I’m on retreat the silence and stillness empties me enough to tempt a flow of inspiration to fill me like some kind of joyful soul waterfall, leaving me desperate to splash and play and sing. Of course, I can’t do that when I’m sitting in a hall filled with people sitting in silence, so I stay with it and try to remember the ideas until the moment I can commit them to form.
The above is something conceived during a retreat I sat back in May, which focused on what in Buddhist practice are known as the Four Immeasurables, or the Four Divine Abodes. These are Equanimity, Joy, Friendship (Loving Kindness) and Compassion. The teachers shared with us that each of these qualities can be represented by one of the four directions, and also by different times of day (represented by the sun’s different phases, and the moon). It is this which I tried to capture with the image and poem above.
It seems to serve me to integrate my understanding of concepts which can at times feel demanding and unattainable into a creative representation that helps me shift my perspective until I can recognise instead their beauty and lightness. These qualities are deeply and irrevocably embedded in all life, in and around me, and whether I recognise and make use of them or not, they are always available. I just have to choose…and allow them to bring me ‘home’.
What brings you ‘home’?