Zen in a Wine Glass
I’ve spent very little time speaking/writing lately.
I suppose I’ve been listening.
For example, I was just listening to myself transfer the wine glasses from the sink to the china cabinet. What a beautiful sound a vibrating wine glass makes.
And I could destroy that sound in an instant simply by grasping the glass with my hand.
This is what destroys beauty – holding it too tightly.
For beauty to be beauty it needs to be free – as free as a singing wine glass, a vibrating string. But to hear and feel beauty not only does the object of beauty need to be free, but you also need to be free. This freedom is faith – a deep trusting in the universe, being in a state of let go – letting the divine sing through you. It is falling in love with existence, becoming intoxicated with life itself.
But things can go wrong, and they usually do. Our natural/spiritual attraction to beauty can so easily turn into obsession – because being free can fill us with fear, we want to hold onto something, and hold onto it tightly. And of course once we do that, like grasping a singing wine glass, we’ve destroyed its song. When this happens authentic faith (trusting/letting go) is replaced by inauthentic faith (grasping).
Is this not what has happened to many of the “great” religions? Perhaps they began with one person or a group of people, who lived a life of authentic faith. Naturally others would be attracted to such individuals. But it never takes long for new followers to misunderstand. Their desire for authentic faith turns into grasping – they want to possess the beauty of the divine, but by grasping they destroy it – they live a life of inauthentic faith. For such misguided followers faith means holding tightly to a set of fundamental tenets – the stronger your grasp (beliefs), the stronger your faith. This type of faith (doctrinal) almost always becomes the foundation of a religion.
Most religions, therefore, become their own antithesis. Instead of the followers being in a state of let go, they are continuously in a state of never let go (of their cherished beliefs).
Instead of enjoying heavenly music, their hearts tighten into dissonant knots.
Rather than being lifted up by spiritual/natural beauty, they are let down by their own failing grasp.
Instead of focusing on the divine, they focus on the strength of their own convictions in the divine.
No, I haven’t spent a lot of time writing lately.
I suppose I’ve been listening – to the sound of vibrating wine glasses, to my daughter playing silently, to the miraculous song of existence . . . yes becoming drunk with beauty is as easy as listening and trusting in life. You don’t even need the wine, just the glasses.