Your Bowl of Light

Art Spirit Sunday Episode #3

Hi, I'm Doug Motel. Welcome to Art Spirit Sunday, where I talk about creativity in general, I talk about the spiritual side of being a creative person. 

Today I wanted to talk about an old Hawaiian tradition, which is telling children the story of the bowl of light. 

The story goes like this, basically, when every child is born, they are given a bowl of light. And I like to think of that light as just your innocence, your raw spirit before the world and life begins to push stories on top of you. And so the story goes that every child is given a bowl of light. And as you grow, and you get disappointments, unmet expectations, that kind of stuff, a little stone goes in your bowl.

I imagine these like little lava stones. And after a while, you can begin to have a bowl filled with stones that completely obscure the light. In some versions of the story, the bowl is so filled with stones that you actually turn to stone. 

The thing that I love so much about this story,  that is really integral to the plot, is that any moment that you choose to, you can dump the bowl over. You can be free of all of those little stones, those rocks that you have added along the way. 

I love that concept because my interpretation of it is that in any NOW moment that you choose to become completely present, just grounding yourself in the now (almost like ropes were tying you to the past, or the future and those ropes are severed. And now you're free). 

You can do that, at any moment that you choose. 

Now, it's really much easier said than done, right? How are you supposed to just say, “Oh, I forget all the things that happened to me in my childhood”? Obviously, that's not realistic. We collect traumas along the way that can become so deep they are embedded in our cells. And there is even some data that says that you can actually hand trauma down to your children because it's so much a part of your DNA. 

So I don't want to minimize the power that collecting these stones along the way can have over us. But it's comforting for me to know that the practice of coming back, almost like remember when you're playing tag as a kid, there was always a base? For me and my sister, Robin, it was this one oak tree in our front yard which was home base. If you could get to that tree, you were safe. 

I often think of the present moment, as that base, you can tag that base. You can come back HERE. There is nothing abstract or kooky-spooky or new-agey or anything about that; it's literally putting your focus on what is real. Your awareness. 

Your awareness right now. Awareness of what you can hear, what you can see, what you can smell, what you can taste, and what you can touch. Your awareness of your feelings, if you are feeling anxious, simply the awareness of what is happening emotionally right now. Choosing to be aware of THAT. 

And then finally, awareness of your thoughts, which is a little trickier. Sometimes our thoughts seem to be playing in the background and you really have to get very still. Quiet can be required to be aware of what you are thinking. 

To me, that's the way in which we tip over the bowl of light and come back to that place which could be called your “aloha spirit” or your innocence, your joie de vivre or joy for simply being alive. Just feeling the miracle of being alive. 

And this can really only happen when you come back HERE. 

So, I love that story. That tradition of the bowl of light, and I wanted to share that with you today.

Thank you so much. And please come back again.

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