Forget your perfect offering. –Leonard Cohen
We don’t always know how to walk through the world with open hands.
In fact, what we’ve been taught from a young age is that in order to be strong, in order to find success in this life, we need to be prepared with rounded fists. We’re told that’s where the power lies. That we need to punch the air, control, dominate, go after, fight.
Why has no one told us—until recently—about the value of opening up? Why don’t teachers, church leaders, parents, start with the very important lesson that to be happy in this world (forget those typical notions of success), we have to get out of our own way and release our tightness, let go of our resistance?
I didn’t even know what “getting out of your own way” mean for a long time, because I have a warrior spirit, and that warrior said that in order to get anything done I needed to punch. (Not people, mind you. We’re just going along with this metaphor.) And don’t get me wrong. When someone comes at you with a negative agenda, sometimes a clear, decisive punch is the way to go. But so often, the better manner of practice is walking into a situation with open hands. Ready to receive and be received.
When you look at statues of the saints, especially the female ones, you’ll see their hands are at their sides, palms facing forward. They are ready to absorb. They are ready to become. They have tapped into a state of boundlessness within them, and they are willing to be led by a power higher than their own limited understanding. They recognize that they can’t possibly know the vastness of the world, and so they give up their desire to know, or to be anything concrete, and instead open up and follow the High.
And then they experience bliss, without any drug, without any orgasm (although, who knows, maybe), without any paper product to get them there.
But many of us, instead of opening, build walls around ourselves, hoard knowledge and moments of insight, think we must cover up our hearts in order to make it in this world.
And what the hell does “making it” even mean?
If you’re lucky enough to have experienced setbacks, to experience failure, to have heartbreak or intense loss, you know that there is no “making it” in this life. There is only a practice of constant surrender, of going with the flow. Of opening up to the truth and depth of who you are, and accepting it, and loving it, and proceeding from that place of richness and gentleness. Long-lasting contentment, bliss, amazement, never comes from throwing a punch.
And so, moving through your world with open hands is about recognizing that the Divine is always giving you a gift. Each and every day, there are gifts to be received. Many of us are just too blind and deaf and dumb to know what is happening. We get some weird ideas in our heads, and we feed them with a lot of attention and grandstanding and liquid or herbal poisons, and then we close our eyes and thrash wildly.
Um, don’t do that.
If you spend time each day in a state of surrender, sitting quietly, brave enough to face yourself, concentrating on your breath, you’re going to start to notice that life is a hell of a lot better when your shoulders are relaxed, when your chest opens, when you let things sink to the ground so your spirit can rise up. Because that’s the gem of you. And then, over time, with commitment, you begin to recognize, Hey, everything is right where I need it to be. I have everything. It’s just a matter of straightening up the messy parts, handling things a little differently than I have.
Because I promise you, on your path each day, the Divine Healer is offering you gift after gift after gift. And maybe you don’t feel like you deserve it. Maybe you don’t know how to look. Maybe you’ve never been taught that you can open your hands and receive, and let that offering live inside of you, and grow.
I give, therefore I receive.
I receive, therefore I give.
It’s one and the same, my lovelies.
So open your hands. Wake up. Breathe, live, take part in this brilliant cosmic dance.