Written by Julia Greef
As I was thinking about what to make on the potters’ wheel today, in the sense of trying to get a feel for what wants to come through me and given form and expression, I remembered how much we, our lives, are like a lump of clay; unformed and yet, at the same time, full of infinite possibilities.
Delving into this a bit further, I find we are simultaneously both the clay and the potter, taking the unformed material of our life and shaping it into the form we choose. For whether we are conscious of it or not, everything in our life comes from our choices. Like the beginning potter, we all too often start by unconsciously choosing and creating things that are a little off kilter, not aligned with the center. While giving us some degree of temporary happiness and satisfaction, this kind of creation inevitably leads to flopped pots and pockets of dissatisfaction in our relationships and lives. Eventually, just as the clay of a pot that has gone to far off center needs to be reworked back into the whole so it can be used again, so the fissures between the life we dream of and our external reality created by these kinds of choices become too wide for us to ignore them any longer, and we are forced to go back to our center; to look inside and see what it is we really dream of and desire to create in our lives. It is in this cracking open, painful as it feels at the time, that our greatest treasures our found. For it is in our vulnerability, pain and despair that we become most open to expansion.
We can’t help but face the fact that the old way wasn’t working, and it is this that gives us the courage to embrace something new. Or, at the very least, the idea of something new – even as there is a part of us that is dragged along kicking and screaming all the way. As we reexamine the assumptions we have held, the expectations we have put on ourselves and others, the unconscious choices we have made and actions we have taken that have taken us out of alignment with what it is we say we desire, we see that we have, in fact, been limiting ourselves. And it is in this, often painful, reworking of the clay, that the clues to our happiness are found. We start to see what a life lived from the center could look like, and once we have seen this vision of beauty it is hard to go back to creating badly-formed pots in our lives. Of course, these are only the first steps on a path that leads us deeper into ourselves; into our pain and turmoil as well as our joys and bliss. Yet, as our mastery deepens, we can begin to align with the truth at the core of us and to create from this place of truth. It is when we do this that we can start to become the beautiful vessels we came here to be.
I am only at the start of this journey. But I know I want to use the ‘clay’ I have been given to create a life of beauty and joy. A life that is inspired and inspiring. A life of passion and purpose. What is it that you want to create with the clay of your life? Is there any way you can come closer to that in this moment? For in each and every moment, we are simultaneously clay, potter and vessel; and our lives are created by the moment to moment choices we make. What can each of us do now to bring ourselves closer to the things that we would like to give expression to in our lives?
Julia lives in rural Japan dividing her time between walking her dog, spiritual seeking, pottery, poetry and English teaching.
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