“I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free.” – Michelangelo
Each person has his or her own shadows and lights. Everyone has some chronic tension. Everyone is conditioned by familial and genetic challenges, and by recent stressors. We live in a restless culture, ever-changing and sometimes not for the better. We all live in an environment challenged by global warming and the thoughtless excesses of industry. To find the first noble truth of Buddhism – Life is suffering – we don’t have to look very far!
May this suffering spark our compassion every day! With the spirit of compassion every day we can see the suffering and also see the angelic component in each person and in the world around us. We see it in each flower, in the sunny sky, in the child’s eyes. I remember a psychotherapist years ago smiling at me with compassion and saying, “I bet I love you now more than you love yourself.” I thought at the time – “What chutzpah!” Now I understand what she meant.
When we regard others with compassion we often have an easier time accepting them than they do themselves. We see the gift of life as expressed uniquely by this individual. The gift of being the angel in the marble, however deeply embedded, is reflected back into their structure and energy through our caring touch, our words, even just a gaze of kindness.
Angels sometimes need our help. They can be bound, as the great bodyworker, Ida Rolf, said, by “literal thorns in literal flesh.” The higher self may be bound by old thoughts or beliefs that no longer serve us. We can wrap ourselves up in the emotional atmosphere we grew up in, recreating ancient tensions long obsolete. I recently read “we are each perfectly adapted to circumstances in which we no longer live.”
As conscious humans we get to inhabit the “radical present”. The radical present is one in which we mobilize the magic and power this very moment uniquely holds. It is not bound by the past. I half- kiddingly tell my students and clients that one great advantage to the past is that it’s over!
The present moment is the only moment in which we live. I wish as a person and therapist that bit by bit, muscle by muscle, joint by joint, in their very bones, this person facing me may awaken to their reality in the present moment, to know how marvelous they are. Each person is like a mountain, a river of life! Each person is a walking miracle.
When someone feels how wondrous they indeed are, the angel is freed.
Freed their wings fill with air, their hopes and dreams rise aloft, empowered to fulfill their destiny.
Pablo Neruda said, “Hands make the world each day.” This world, however, troubled, is still hand-made. All we need to do each day is just take our hands, hearts, minds and spirit and do what we can to set free the angels that live in each of us. This world is what we make it.