Wednesday, May 18, 2005

My Cup Runneth Over

I always used to wonder about this phrase when I recited the 23rd Psalm. It sounded so overabundant, so excessive. We always tend to stop pouring before our cups run over. How would it feel to have so much extra that it was just spilling over the top? I have recently had a couple of experiences where I felt like I was experiencing this ecstatic overabundant feeling.

The members of my Wednesday night meditation group sit together for an hour each week – 40 minutes of silent meditation followed by a brief reading from Thich Nhat Hanh and a few minutes for anyone who wishes to comment on the reading. Even though there has been limited verbal exchange, we have become very close to each other after many weeks of this pattern of meditation. We decided to have a potluck dinner following our meditation at a member’s home several weeks ago. Several of our readings concerned eating mindfully, so this seemed like a good idea. We convened in Bill’s living room, sitting on his blankets and pillows instead of the usual cushions at Healing Arts. His bell was lovely, but had a much different sound from our usual bell. It turned out that we didn’t even need a bell to tell us when the 40 minutes was up because he had a grandfather clock that chimed every 15 minutes. After a very otherwise quiet sit and a reading, we prepared to eat a vegetarian dinner. Mary had suggested that we taste our food in silence for the first 10 minutes and that we consciously put the fork down in between bites. Our meal consisted of a black bean-quinoa salad, hot ratatouille, brown rice, crusty bread with pesto and tapanade spreads, and choices of wine. There couldn’t have been more inviting flavors and colors. Just as we were sitting to eat, Eli, a member who had recently had a baby, arrived with 5-week-old Mateo to join us for dinner. We had to break the 10-minutes of silence rule to gush over the baby and to greet Eli. The conversation was rich and flowing and matched the glasses of wine that were consumed. Our varied and interesting lives began to unfold for those whom we trusted but about which we knew so little. After eating for a long time we moved on to a dessert of carob and sunflower seeds, all baked and melted together. It was luxurious. It was one of those evenings that you don’t want to end. I went home knowing how very much I loved each of these people I continue to sit with weekly.

Last Saturday I had a similar experience. My latest music partner is Deborah, who when she is not playing the double bass is most likely being a physician. We are about the same age, with children who are the same age. There was an immediate bond from the first time we met. I love playing duets with Bill, but he never makes a mistake, so I sometimes come away wishing I could have done a better job. Deborah has had a lot more experience than I have, but we play together so evenly, taking turns making mistakes and starting us over again. On Saturday we played a Handel sonata and a Vivaldi sonata, both difficult pieces of music. By the time we were through after about 2 hours, we had successfully played all 8 movements. It was an absolutely beautiful day, one of those rare days in Washington where it is sunny with no humidity and a slight breeze. So we had played with the windows open and just let the music fill the inside and outside. It was surely another one of those times when your heart is filled to bursting for love of the person you are with and for what you are doing.

I often feel like a very fortunate person these days. I really like the feeling of my cup overflowing with love and enjoyment.

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