“I begin and end every day with a very old ritual that was taught to me by a gentle elderly woman who is a Tibetan nun. Each morning, the first thing after awakening, you take a small empty bowl that you keep for this purpose and fill it slowly to the brim from a source of running water. Doubtless, the originators of this ritual had in mind some high mountain stream. I use my kitchen faucet..
As the bowl fills, you reflect on the particulars of your life, whatever they are. The people with whom you share your time, your state of health, whatever problems you face, what skills and strengths you have, your disappointments and successes, your worries, your personal gifts, your personal limitations, your home, all your possessions, your losses, your history as a human being. As the bowl fills, you receive your life openheartedly and unconditionally as your portion. Walking very slowly so as not to spill a drip out of the brimming bowl, you take it to a private place in your home, perhaps a personal altar, and place it there, dedicating all that it contains to the service of life. Leaving the full bowl in this place, you begin your day.
I find that this practice has been profoundly healing to me. The thought that all things can be used equally to befriend life seems to soften the edges of things, to break down the boundaries between one’s sorrows and one’s joys, one’s wounds and one’s strengths. They may be of equal value in serving life. Perhaps it is through such consecration that all things will ultimately reveal their true value and meaning.
Each evening, the last thing before going to sleep, you take the bowl outside and empty the water out onto the earth. Then you place the empty bowl upside down in its special place in your home, turn out your light, and rest. Perhaps this cycle of openheartedly taking on whatever one has been given, using it all to serve the life around you, then letting it go completely refers as much to the wisdom of living a lifetime as it does to the wisdom of living each day.”
Rachel Naomi Remen