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There is a Crack in Everything


A member of our mindfulness group said that she felt fundamentally flawed and it made no difference how much she sat with it, the feeing continued. We were practising being with the felt-sense of our core wounds, psychological hurts that generally were created during childhood. The person in the group - let’s call her Tessa - said that her life was good, physically comfortable, grandchildren and a lovely husband, but this sense of being wrong and bad just would not go. We asked her where in her body did she feel flawed and she hesitated and then said, “All over”, while clutching at her chest. “So, in your chest?” “Yes.” she replied.

The stumbling block Tessa was hitting was that she wanted her feeling of being flawed to go away. When she felt the sensations in her chest that she understood as the feeling of being flawed, she sat with them waiting for them to go - which is just about the best way to make them continue. The trick is not about making them go but increasing our ability to stay - to stay with unpleasant sensations and it be OK to feel them. To develop my favourite word - equanimity. “It’s OK to feel this”.

It also got me thinking. What is the opposite of flawed? I suspect it's perfect and then I thought how much more problematic that would be! And actually I really like flawed. Just think of the difference between a factory made rug and one made in a shed somewhere by hand. The first is technically perfect while the other carries the history of the kids coming in crying or laughing and the pattern going a bit awry before correcting itself. It has a personality, a soul. Or the Japanese art of kintsugi where a shattered bowl is mended with gold along its breaks and becomes even more beautiful. And of course - as Leonard Cohen sings - there is a crack in everything, that's where the light gets in.

NW. 11.2.22

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