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Sharing the insights I discover as I explore and experience the mystery that is our reality. Join me in my journey and share yours.

Monday, August 20, 2012

The Transient Nature of Sorrow

                                    A recent picture of Noah running along the beach of our town's lake.

I've achieved a new record for my blog. One that I'm not very keen on achieving. The month is nearly over and this is my first post and maybe last post for August. It's been a busy summer and I'm looking forward to settling down into a steady routine this fall as the kids get used to their new teachers and classes. My daughter will be going into third grade and my son will be entering his last year of preschool.

Though I believe I've made some spiritual progress lately in terms of my practices and understanding I have been struggling with some personal things. We all have them. As a result, in those off moments when I am not centered, a sense of unease and restlessness, of despair even, creeps into my consciousness. I have to remind myself of the transient nature of sorrow. The impermanence of our feelings and even our situations in life. Everything rises up and eventually fades away. Happiness, peace as well as pain are all temporary conditions.

The Bhagavad Gita tells  us that one who is fixed on God should remain steadfast and centered, devoted to Him, in all situations and conditions.

"They are dear to me who run not after the pleasant,
Or away from the painful, grieve not over the past, lust not today,
But let things come and go as they happen...
Alike in heat and cold, pleasure and pain,
free from selfish attachments and self will,

Ever full in harmony everywhere,
Firm in faith-such as those who are dear to me.
But dearest to me are those who seek me

in faith and love as life's eternal goal."

 (Bhagavad Gita 12:17-19)

That is a fine philosophy to accept and I do accept it. However, when the storm's waves break upon the shores of our own lives it can be an easy reality to momentarily forget or put into active practice . My mantram has been instrumental during these times when I have had enough resolve to utter it, either inwardly or vocally. As soon as I reach out to it, as soon as I begin uttering the names of God, like an anchor it draws my consciousness beneath the turbulant waves of its surface down towards the still waters of its center. Slowing everything down.  One of Eknath Easwaran's eight points of spiritual practice is to slow things down. And the mantram certainly helps to do just that. And as a result greater clarity is achieved and oftentimes a tangible sense of peace.

This morning I woke with a heavy heart. My mind was everywhere other than where it should be-fixed in the present moment. Instead, not following my own advice, I let it be pulled this way and that; down the dark corridors of the past and up the shady paths of the future where eerie winds whistle through creaky pine trees that tower overhead, taunting me with their malevolent poise. They whisper to me. Daring me to go forward into the unknown which seems so dark and foreboding. 

Like my mind, my actions drifted; perusing this website and then another, half reading articles, half listening to songs on youtube. Knowing that I should get my japa mala beads out and chant or perhaps sit still and practice passage meditation. Instead, I waved aside my spiritual disciplines and settled into the mediocre. Waving aside the only medicine that could take away the problematic symptoms that fester within and begin to bring healing ointment to the very roots of the problems that cause them.  I began to wonder if I am some kind of emotional masochist. Why feel such feelings when one doesn't have to? Why dwell when you can overcome your condition? Perhaps the reason is because sometimes we all just lack strength to pick up the medicine and drink it down when it is before us. It's much easier to just lay there and look at it. Maybe we could call it spiritual inertia.

And then my son came wandering downstairs. When I saw his small frame drifting down the staircase and eventually his big blue eyes peeping around the corner of the banister it was like all despair was scraped clean from my consciousness. I held out my arms and it was as if I embraced love itself. I held him close and inhaled the scent of his sandy blond hair while feeling the strong body of a boy that four years ago sprang forth from my own body kicking and screaming.

All ten pounds of him were placed in my arms and I remember feeling a sense of relief for I was never quite sure how he was going to come out. He was conceived during a dark time in our family's history; a time of stress, a time one wouldn't consider very compatible to that of nurturing a baby in one's womb. Mother's are supposed to happy when expecting but I was anything but and feared how the child growing within me was going to come out. If he'd be a reflection of our external circumstances at the time. If he'd come out frail and small. No, not our Noah. He came out like a viking and has been thriving and conquering all that is before him ever since. Charming and sweet, spontaneous and passionate, intelligent and agile. Walking at nine months he masters everything he endeavors. If I had to describe him in one word I would choose the word: driven. 

Now holding my son in my arms this morning I felt peace, hope and pride. And a deep, deep sense of gratitude. And gratitude, like a hammer, has a way of smashing through the illusions of the material that bind us to suffering, allowing a holy light to filter through to our awareness.

I had another post I had been working on and thought of publishing today but instead wrote a poem about this morning's moment I had with Noah and thought I'd share that instead. The intro to this poem is almost a post all of its own. That was not my intention but just sort of happened.  The poem isn't edited but I figure if I don't share it now I won't share it and I felt like sharing...So it is as it is...simple as that. I already caught that I repeated the same word twice in the first stanza, which annoys me. More important than the form, I think, is the poem's sentiment.

Hope you enjoy! 

~ Namaste ~


Hopeless as I rise

until I look into your eyes
it's like a million suns rise
drowning all my heart's cries.

Wrapped up in gentle bliss,
What can be more pure than this?
Innocence at dawn's first kiss,
A love my heart cannot dismiss

Brings my soul to its knees,
to the Author of mysteries.
May my heart never be blind to see
Each moment pregnant with Love that frees.

Thoughts? Please share them in the comments section. Thank you!


  1. That's a great philosophy, but sometimes it's just hard to be the rock in the stream of life. Like in any river, sometimes life will push the rock over - set it adrift if only for a moment, until it finds a new lodging.

    Love what you wrote about your boy. Sounds like you have quite a gem there - priceless. Hang on to it.

  2. "it's just hard to be the rock in the stream of life"

    So true...I'd rather be the stray stick in the water, flowing on it surface, rather than the rock any day. ;) I like what the Tao to Ching has to say about things..to flow with them and not to resist..

    Thank you...my son is a treasure..but then again I am a bit biased. :)

  3. Oh sis...this is so beautiful. Sorrow has its gifts ~ it arises in one's needs. I could feel that the post resonates the deep sentiments of your heart as if you've just allowed yourself to be carried by God in His arms.

    I remember Elijah being fed by an angel (1 King 19,5-8) and Jesus' sorrows (http://www.comeaside.com/sorrows.html)...Sometimes, it seems that we have progressed two steps and fall back three steps away...but I know that the Lord sees how we strive to be faithfully purified inorder to come closer to Him...

    Be patient with everything that is and with who you are...

    I also love that part of Noah and the poem ~ it's a very significant name and God came to you through him...

    I wish you peace Jessica sis... God bless.

    1. Thank you Melissa...:)
      "Sorrow has its gifts". I definitely think when a sense of gratitude is cultivated it makes it a lot easier to be perceptive to these gifts. How often gratitude is so easily forgotten when things go wrong though! But there's something to be said about the saying "practice makes perfect." I believe the more we practice gratitude, the more it will become more natural for us. I do think that our trials, as you mentioned, can have a way of purifying us.

      Thank you so much for your thoughts. :) ...lots of love

    2. I love your post and it has become more dear because it's like you talking to me in a more personal way. Perhaps you could slow it down a bit ~ the poem was cut...but altogether, it's something that I could meditate on more perfectly.

      You are great!

  4. Dear Jessica,
    all this is so thrilling! And your poem...! Oh, your pure soul shines through every word!

    1. Thank you so much Portia...I love when you stop by! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

  5. Your poem is priceless, Jessica, as is your reflection about how we all can, at times, refuse to take that much needed medicine which is right in front of our noses. You've given us much to think and reflect upon the next time one of those dark moments arise.
    And, just to let you know, my mantra has truly helped calm me on many occasions since I began using it. A veritable God-send!
    Thanks for sharing your marvelous wisdom and insights, my dear!
    Blessings always and hugs for Montana and Noah!

  6. Thank you so much Martha for your wonderful response. I always appreciate that you take the time to read my posts and I love hearing your reflections. And I'm really really loving that your mantra is working so well for you! :) Thanks for sharing that!

    ~ blessings and love

  7. Jessica, your beautiful blogpost reminds me of two important lessons. First, spiritual practice isn't and shouldn't be used as a desperate escape from the proverbial trials and tribulations of life. Robert Augustus Masters emphasizes this theme in his recent book "Spiritual Bypassing." Second, some of life's most sublime moments come not from mantrams, meditations, or mountaintops but from a child's eyes wide with wonder and joy.

  8. Thank you for sharing this post and these insights, Jessica. Lord Krsna's word is balm and beauty indeed. Now that I have returned to faith, I shall also return to your blog with a new perspective.



    1. Casey,

      So glad to have you back. :) I am glad you enjoyed the post...His word indeed brings great direction and insight and is always an oasis of beauty for the seeking soul.

      ~ Namaste~

  9. Steve,

    Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

    "First, spiritual practice isn't and shouldn't be used as a desperate escape from the proverbial trials and tribulations of life."

    I agree with that. But I do think Easwaran and others would say that spiritual disciplines and practices (like repeating one's mantram) can be instrumental in not escaping but overcoming and finding clarity amidst those trials and tribulations life tends to throw at us.

    And so true about your second statement...Sometimes looking into my children's eyes its as if I see heaven itself. Sublime indeed. :)

    ~ Namaste~

  10. Jessica, this was a lovely post. I know how easily we fall into the old habits of fear. The illusion is everywhere speaking. We must be diligent...especially early in the morning when our defenses are low.
    I love how you worked through things and found everything that you needed within your heart and the arms of your son. You're poem is beautiful. Thank you for sharing this with me.

    Namaste <3

  11. Leah,

    "We must be diligent...especially early in the morning when our defenses are low. "
    True, morning can find us most vulnerable at times and it can also serve as an opportunity to build resilience and spiritual fortitude, depending on how we use our time and where we lift our heart to...to our own egos, or to God.

    Thank you for stopping by. I'm glad you enjoyed the post!:)

  12. Hi Jessica:
    Just like you said and as I've written, it's when the storm is upon us that we tend to forget God is there. We get tossed and turned and we don't know which way is up and which way is down. That's when we need to find something to cling to. It seems that you understand this even if you sometimes don't think you do. What do you cling to? It seems that you reached out to Noah and he brought you back to center.

    Interesting that his name is Noah as the Biblical Noah saved the world during the Great Flood just as your Noah has saved you during your own personal storms.

  13. Chris,

    Yes, Noah is a gift for sure and sometimes our children can be our greatest teachers. In an off moment of turbulence Noah brought to me the lesson of gratitude. And Gratitude is a lesson which has the power to put all things in perspective almost immediately.

    Thanks for stopping by. :)
    ~ namaste~

  14. There's a lot going on with most of us right now. I don't think I've spoken with anyone this summer who hasn't been experiencing a roller coaster of emotions and trials on literally every level imaginable. I know my own family has gone through some very personal tragedy moments this year, with each of us walking through that dark night of the soul.

    As a result, I don't know if my inability to focus is due to those moments. It may also be due to the wide range of astrological aspects happening. I do find that that has an impact on me, and it's helpful to research it here and there, just to know that I'm not imagining my reactions! Every experience is transient - we change on a cellular level with each breath. Those moments such as the one you experienced with Noah are gifts, as they polarize us and line up our thoughts with such bright energy.

    Lovely article, Jessica! I found serendipity here today. :)


    - Dawn

    1. Dawn,

      Thank you so much for stopping by. Indeed, it's been a rough season for many of us...I continue to pray for you and your family, that light and love might continue to penetrate your hearts bringing healing and peace. You've been in my thoughts and prayers.

      I'm not familiar with astrological happenings..I'll have to look into those..interesting!

      Glad you enjoyed the article. :)

      ~ Namaste~

  15. Deep and moving post my friend. You will touch many lives with this one.

    1. Thank you Andy..I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)

  16. It's amazing how gratitude for something or someone can bring with it it's own healing of our emotions, Jessica. You are blessed with two beautiful reminders of God's love for you - each of us has our own - if only we could remember to see them everyday!

    1. Thank you so much Corinne. Very true...if only we could remember to see those things which cause gratitude to blossom into our awareness. We'd be a lot happier and more peaceful! The key is definitely in the remembering.

  17. I needed to read this post today. I have been feeling down on the dumps. Yes sorrow as well as joy are all fleeting. But when sorrow comes it seems it stays longer than joy. I consciously think of my blessings when sorrow comes knocking, sometimes I fail miserably in getting rid of it but most times counting my blessings is like a wake up call. Loved the way you put it as well as the short poem. God bless you.


  18. Thank you Rimly! Sorrow does seem to stay longer, maybe because it is so unpleasant and painful. I really like how you count your blessings during those times...it's so true that it's easy to forget to do that, but when one is able, as you mentioned, it's like a wake up call.

    Thanks for stopping by. :)

  19. Gorgeous poem, Jessica, and beautiful sentiments in your post I relate to wholeheartedly. We have to feel whatever it is we feel in the moment in order to live full lives, but thank God for the small blessings that put everything into perspective.

    1. Thank you Adriene..For sure it's those small moments that make everything seem worth it sometimes. Blessings indeed.

  20. Your description sounds like my morning--waking up and going back over things in the past and rehearsing things in the future instead of being right here...now. Lovely post.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Galen and could relate. How different being in the present is from what usually is most of our regular states...being adrift, often one foot in the past and one in the future.
      ~ blessings

  21. WOW... beautiful, beautiful, absolutely beautiful and powerful!

    Girl, I love this: "And gratitude, like a hammer, has a way of smashing through the illusions of the material that bind us to suffering..."

    1. So glad you enjoyed the post Amy...thank you for your kind compliments. :)
      ~ blessings

  22. Oh Jessica, the poem is beautiful! And I enjoyed hearing your voice reading your work.
    Your thoughts remind me of Kahlil Gibran’s words here:
    Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
    And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
    And how else can it be?
    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
    Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
    And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
    When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
    Read it all here. http://www.katsandogz.com/onjoy.html

    1. Thank you so much Debra..I'm going to go follow the link and check the rest out.
      ~ blessings

  23. Dear Jessica,
    Your post was very sincere, I felt helpless while reading it. I would love to help, we are due for another time together, if you want to include Chris again just give the word. I have been so busy since school got out. I would love to spend time with you again.

    You are in my thoughts... P. S. I loved the poem


  24. Hi Jessica, what a great verse from the Gita you chose and how beautifully you wrote - a heartfelt post. Loved the poem too.
    I hope things are better for you soon. whenever I go through difficult times, the words "this too shall pass" make things feel a little easier. It becomes my mantra.
    Know that when He takes you through troubled times, He also gives you the strength to walk through it.
    My children also are my strength and joy. And I so believe that the Lord sent them to me just for that. How blessed we are to have those joys in our life.
    Take care my friend. Love, hugs and Blessings to you. Namaste.

  25. BEAUTIFUL poem!!! I think we all have days like these. I'm happy you found PEACE through the EYES of your son. So inspirational.