Teacher: Are you a jelly person or a jam person?
Teacher: But if you had to pick between jelly or jam, which would it be?
Student: I rarely eat sweets of any kind. Sugar is–
Teacher: Ok, let’s imagine you’re lost in the desert for three days without food. Only water. You’re exhausted from fear, hunger and drastic changes in temperature. In the distance, there is a jam oasis to the east and a jelly oasis to the west. Which would it be?
Student: (thinks…) Jam?
Teacher: (playing for real) Oh, me too! I’m a jam person myself.
Teacher: Did you see what you just did? You felt affirmed by my being a jam person. You attached your identity to the thing. If I’d said I was a jelly person, you may have felt a twinge of separation. You might attach suspicion to my jelly-ness. In this simple way, we are ravenously attaching our identities to every little thing, jelly or jam, feeling inflated by the things that are like us, and building a separation between ourselves and things that we deem, from a limited perspective, to be unlike ourselves. We do this instead of cultivating being-ness from within.
Your being does not exist only in opposites: jelly or jam, this or that. Your being has always known this. It rides the currents of choice, itself. In many however, being becomes dimmed or swallowed by all the noisy shoulds of the modern world.
With intention, being can be uncovered, mended. Become aware of your breath, your bodies, the wind and her sisters. Imagine. A conscious, loving touch is the stuff of being. Touch a tree. The earth. Let go of most of that which does not serve you. Start small. Ask for help when you need it. Do what’s right in front of you with as much compassion and creativity as you can muster. On occasion, dip into the unknown. Form a foundation, a family, of some intimate design.
When being is allowed to shine from within, “you” develops a lightness. Landings soften. Flow gets fluid. Fear diminishes. You can listen to your girlfriend’s favorite pop song without judgement. You no longer need to affirm your superiority through what’s on your frickin’ iPod. You might even find beauty in that pop song you once derided, if only because it reminds you of her.
When “being shines through form,” as Eckhart Tolle calls it, what once grasped now opens. What notices, gives. What loves, receives, and in all the vice versas.
When being shines through form, “you” are left with the knowing that you are it. You knew this as a child.
jelly or jam?