In the same way that we separate our body from our spirit, as good Cartesian heirs, we too often oppose the material to the spiritual. Immersed in a very active life, in direct contact with a busy daily life, we think that we would have to do something quite different to reach the spiritual dimension of existence. As if spirituality came from a somewhat abstract elsewhere. And that the spiritual paths were reserved for people free from contingencies and intellectually superior… And if awakening was lodged at the heart of the most concrete of our existences?
To realize is to incarnate
However, if we want to let our full spiritual capacity flourish, it is by daring to incarnate (to take up Marie-Pierre Dillinseger’s invitation) that we will be able to do so. To realize is to incarnate. It is letting our full presence in the world unfold, bodily, carnal, material. As long as we remain in our heads, locked up in our minds, we have only a limited idea of what is happening around us. But as soon as we reinvest our body, our understanding becomes broader. As soon as we inhabit our bodily presence, our vision becomes panoramic. Our action adjusts. Our capacity for empathy unfolds… To awaken is thus to allow oneself to become a bodily being again. A being that interacts with all the concrete aspects of existence. A being who is interested in the details of material life until he develops a real understanding of each situation.
In his beautiful book material life, Marguerite Duras demonstrates that the inspiration of a writer unfolds in daily stewardship. She tells in particular about the care she takes of her little house in Neauphle. Marguerite Duras evokes the afternoons when, alone, she prepares food while friends and children are at work or taking a siesta ” So I had the whole ground floor of the house and the park to myself. It was at times like these in my life that I saw clearly that I loved them and wished them well. […] Slowly, carefully, for it to last longer, I cooked for those absent people during those afternoons “.
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These sentences resonate with a memory where I was folding the dry linen from a laundry done the day before. I don’t like folding clothes at all. I find it long and tedious. I was in a hurry to finish. When suddenly, in my hands, I recognized my son’s sweater and I felt a vast surge of love. It happened by surprise. I suddenly understood how my way of taking care of laundry could be a gesture of love. And how, realizing it, I became kinder to myself, less irritated, more flexible. Folding the laundry always bores me, I much prefer going to the office! Except when sometimes, returning to my bodily sensations, I allow myself to be amazed by a fabric that revives this tender bond and brings me back to those I love. I then feel a little more settled in my life, a little wiser…
Enlightenment comes through the wonder of ordinary things. It’s about rediscovering our daily life with a fresh, sharp, calm, intelligent look. In his test marvel, Belinda Cannone describes this inner state conducive to the “wonderful grasp of the world”. This entry ” is not linked to the exceptional character of the spectacle we are contemplating: it is our poetic vigilance, our concentration that can make an intrinsically humble object spectacular (visible). I’m interested in this state because it comes from a wisdom – from a savoir-vivre to conquer against the turmoil of the world. »
Thus, everything is already there in a certain way. Our wisdom is already there, waiting for our conquest of itself. Everywhere around us, in the street, at work, in the metro, at home, in a hallway, in the corner café, in our sink or on our balcony, there is the possibility of awakening, of wonder, of a full and wise life. Just open your eyes. Just be aware of it. And for this, rather than remaining stuck in a deceptive ideal of spirituality, we can begin to rejoice in all that we know how to accomplish in our daily lives, with agility, dexterity and ease! Engaging in our bodily life is a force we can seize. Without delay.
The right action
In my book hatch, finally, I tell the experience I had during my first meditation seminar, 20 years ago. At the time, I was convinced that my ease with material things (raising children, earning money, cleaning, planning events for my clients, etc.) were a hindrance to my spiritual development. That real life was elsewhere. But when I get there, I see right away that a lot of organization is needed for such a course to go well. The participants have to get involved in the same way as all the volunteers who run the center that welcomes us. This appeals to me immediately. So I observe how the volunteers coordinate. How tea breaks come together. How meals are prepared. I decode all of this very easily. It’s a game for me. I am so comfortable with all these concrete aspects. I am in my world. And I understand how to help at my level: I form new teams so that daily tasks go faster. I know how to motivate people so that the practice room is prepared quickly and with good humor. And that gives me a lot of joy. I can put things in order gently and skilfully, taking care not to rush anyone. Here the result is not validated by performance indicators but by the smiles and relaxation that can be read on the faces. I feel great satisfaction when things work out harmoniously. I begin to discover the spiritual dimension that resides at the heart of material life. Organizing stewardship not only allows the teachings to take place: the material aspect of the seminary IS ALREADY the spiritual teaching! Because then all the qualities that spirituality teaches us are required: attention, openness, unconditional welcome, improvisation, presence to oneself and to others…
Generation X, women ready for awakening!
The women of my generation have learned to juggle their daily lives. I would even say to juggle several dailies. Because we have learned to lead several lives each day. We are exemplary in skill and inventiveness. We are able to dance with situations in a remarkable way, trained as we are to know how to do everything! It has not always been simple or easy, quite the contrary. But we have acquired an ease in the world that today needs to be recognized. Material life does not scare us. We therefore have the best springboard for awakening and marveling. To make our world bigger.
Entering fully into our material life also means recognizing the love that we concretely show every day in our actions: in family, in society, at work, among friends… If, instead of being ashamed of being “material” we began to understand that we can be proud of it, it is all our wisdom that would be released. A compassionate, sharp, clairvoyant, beneficent wisdom.
By meeting women of her generation, Marie-Laurence Cattoire updates the mechanism of the double bind in Finally hatch! which, as long as it remains invisible, prevents them from finding their rightful place and from flourishing. The book offers many concrete keys and exercises to free yourself, rejoice and finally blossom.