"You are looking for what is looking."
~ St. Francis of Assisi
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Spirit houses provide appealing shelter for deities who protect and bless the family who reside in the "real" house on one's property. In Thailand, these tiny temples are perched high up on poles in every yard or garden. The Guardian of the House is the spirit that watches over and protects the home. It is uncertain whether there is one spirit that watches over all homes, or if individual spirits do this for each home. However, all you have to do in Thailand is look around and you'll see that every home has a spirit house. Thai families who believe wholeheartedly in the spirit house and it's importance light incense every morning and ask the spirit to watch over and protect the home.
I have decided I would like to have a spirit house, maybe perched by the front entrance to my house, or in the serenity of the garden in the back. Who wouldn't want protection and blessings from the spirits as one goes through the stresses of life? We would all like less suffering, and let's face it, we humans think we would like to alleviate it completely. Yet it appears as though the only way to grow spiritually, to be more enlightened, is through that door of suffering. We can choose to either be broken down or to be broke open.
In her book "Broken Open" by Elizabeth Lesser, she was given a gift by her sister and it was a beautiful spirit house. As she was unwrapping the treasure, she discovered to her amazement that the house had gotten broken from being sent through the mail. Disappointed from her discovery, she still had a good laugh from this. She said to herself, "A broken spirit house!" She had just spent the year finishing her book, which is about finding protection and blessings in the broken moments of our lives. She tells stories in her book of blessings that come disguised as disaster, not as cute little houses in lovely gardens. Elizabeth Lesser keeps the broken shards of her spirit house gift in a basket to remind herself that while she is never safe from breaking, she is always protected by spirit.
From her book she writes, "Over and over, we are broken on the shore of life. Our stubborn egos are knocked around, and our frightened hearts are broken open - not once, and not in predictable patterns, but in surprising ways and for as long as we live. The promise of being broken and the possibility of being opened are written into the contract of human life. When the sea is rough, and when we are suffering, we may want to give up hope and give in to despair. but brave pilgrims have gone before us. They tell us to venture forth with faith and vision. "
The poet Rumi tell us this:
Drum sounds rise on the air, and with them, my heart. A voice inside the beat says, I know you are tired, but come. This is the way.