Note to reader: Since "intention" is a recurring theme in this post, please accept this apology if this entry isn't the usual book-club fare. In fairness, though, this book is bound to be intensely personal to many readers, and I am no exception. I would share many more thoughts and feelings on this section, but I swear I worked to keep it to just a few. That said, discuss away.
Tears and Prayers
I was full of a hot, powerful sadness and would have loved to burst into the comfort of tears, but tried hard not to, remembering something my Guru once said--that you should never give yourself a chance to fall apart because, when you do, it becomes a tendency and it happens over and over again. You must practice staying strong, instead. (Page 137)
So how to tell the difference between types of tears? The Inuit are said to have something like thirty different words for "snow." I wonder how many different words there are for "tears," if some can be so right and others can be, well, a mere tendency. What is cathartic and what is chronic?
Has this happened to you, that you read a particularly powerful work at just the right time in your life? Where it seemed like you were meant to encounter it exactly when you did? This was Eat Pray Love for me.
Again, I was "given" this book by a recent reconnection, and we discovered that the reconnection was mutually meant, or intended, although we had not expected it at the time. In our conversations about healing old and new wounds, I called her my "Witness to Change," a notion she reciprocated. Oddly (or not), the feeling and the statement came the night of November 4, as millions of us felt as though we were bearing witness to a long-awaited change. Less than a week later, I came to chapter 66, wherein Liz describes the fourth state of consciousness, known as turiya. The three typical states are waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleeping, but "this fourth level is the witness of all the other states, the integral awareness that links the other three levels together." On top of all that, when I spoke the word aloud I realized it is a striking pun on my witness' name, at which point I about freaked out.
I had to laugh, remembering Liz' earlier inner argument -- her "Me" versus her "Mind," that erupted while she was trying to meditate (Pages 134-137). Her overactive brain was impeding her spiritual progress. Not too many pages afterward, she describes her shocking "personal encounter with the divine," and relates St. Theresa's observation about the challenges of relating that experience to others - once the troublesome mind "begins to compose speeches and dream up arguments, especially if these are clever, it will soon imagine it is doing important work."
Ria, your thoughts on prayer in your last post remind me of this:
"Half the benefit of prayer is in the asking itself, in the offering of a clearly posed and well-considered intention." (Page 177)
Jewish mystics call this intention kavanah. It is the backbone of several versions of the story of the poor, illiterate or uneducated Jew in the back of the synagogue fervently reciting the alphabet, playing the violin, or standing completely still--depending on the storyteller--and despite the ridicule of many more "sophisticated" templegoers earns the praise of the wise old rabbi for praying with the greatest sincerity.
Perhaps this is the resolution to the Me vs. Mind problem - acting on what I want to do rather than continuing to do what I know I can.