Ever Felt Broken?

Ever have one of those days (or weeks, or months . . . ) those times when it all seems a bit broken beyond repair, or at least breaking up?  I was in full tilt of that feeling, when I walked out our door and found this askew angel, wings broken off, after a mighty wind (we have them a lot around here).  Later, I was reading the insightful blog of Bridget Lyons, an Anusara yoga teacher in Driggs Idaho, who spoke of the Hindu goddess, Akhilandeshwairi.  Her name, translated from the Sanskrit, literally means “the goddess who is never not broken.”  Turns out that she rides around on a crocodile, a creature who kills its prey, not by merely clamping down with its mighty jaw, but by thrashing it around until it becomes dizzy to the point of senselessness (and then pulling into the water to drown).  Apparently, Akhilandeshwairi is a gal who knows how to ride the tides and storms of life.  Her place is one of reminding us that, many times, in some part of our lives or world, that’s the way it is, and the only way through it is . . . well, through it.  As Bridget writes:  “Akhilandeshwari’s reality is one of fragmentation.  She is like a prism, taking in white light and breaking it up into the beautiful color spectrum.  In doing so, she creates more beauty – out of the brokenness.  We are like Akhilandeshwari, and the ways in which we fragment are unique to each one of us.  Our fissures make us who we are.”  Sometimes, we need to look a little deeper, to find the beauty that bursts out of those broken places.

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One thought on “Ever Felt Broken?

  1. Ah, yes, THAT is familiar! To be broken is to be prepared for something new. To be broken is to experience, fully, that old koan: “How do you get patience? You wait for it to come.” Being broken can come in bits. You might start with a little breakage, like losing a love or a job, which will require some sort of immediate reaction or action. You get to think, “Ah, I fixed it!” and feel like you are in control.

    To be broken fully and to have the rug pulled completely out from under you is the supreme painter’s blank canvas. Something really big happens to upend every assumption you had about your life and your place in the world. You cannot possibly be who you were with the life you had, and therefore, complete emptiness and grief must take over. It feels like a curse rather than a gift. Yet, to fully experience the agony, the discomfort, the “not-fitting-in-with-humanity” is the only path you have. It is truly shocking to realize that no one else is coming along for this ride, and no one can make the present pain bearable. Understanding there are no shortcuts and committing to the excruciation is what will finally bear some sort of fruit. You have to get comfortable with discomfort. Invite discomfort for dinner, invite discomfort to stay awhile.

    The Spring 2012 Tricycle has a wonderful article called “Into the Demon’s Mouth” by Aura Glaser, speaking to facing our fears with clarity and kindness. She tells the story of Milarepa who was a great cave-dwelling meditator and yogi. When he left the cave to get firewood, he found that demons had taken over his cave upon return. His first thought was to get rid of them, but the more he chases them, the more settled-in they become. He then teaches them dharma, but still they remain. It occurs to Milarepa that he needs to surrender to them once its clear that manipulating them won’t work. He looks deeply into the eyes of each demon and bows, saying, “It looks like we’re going to be together here. I open myself to whatever you have to teach me.” In that moment all the demons disappear but one. So he goes one step more. He steps up to the demon and offers himself completely to be eaten. He puts his head in the demon’s mouth and at that moment the largest demon bows and dissolves into space.

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