Friday, January 8, 2010

A Hollow Reed

B'hai Master, Abdu'l-Baha, is thought to have said this prayer: "Make me like a hollow reed from which the pith of self hath been blown, so that I may become a clear channel through which love may flow to others."

The "pith" Baha refers to is the spongy tissue found in the stem of some plants, such as water reeds. The obvious implication is that a sense of self is an obstacle to the ability to let things flow through us. We can know this experience as feeling blocked or constricted, unable to get out of our own way. These feelings are usually the result of clinging to something we want more of, or aversion toward something we want less of. 

It would be too difficult to get rid of our sense of self completely, and not even desirable. Many have tried, and all have failed. What we can do, however, is to relieve ourselves from the blockage by opening the tight first of clinging, or by abandoning the aversion toward the undesirable. This allows for a more effective flow of energy through us, and a decreasing of our level of suffering.

Every obstacle brings with it the seed of opportunity. The awareness of being blocked, or of our flow being interrupted, is an important insight that we can use for our growth. When we become aware that there is blockage, we can then ask ourselves, "To what am I clinging? What am I trying to avoid?" Armed with this awareness, we can then turn toward any situation, no matter how difficult, acknowledge its presence in our lives, and then allow it to be. This, in turn, promotes a flowing of insight and energy into the situation that brings with it wise action. 


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