Inviting the Bell
Bells grab our attention, and are quite common in spiritual practices the world over. When we were in Greece, we stayed across the street from a beautiful Orthodox church. Anyone who is familiar with this religious practice is well aware of the many times throughout the day that those bells ring out, calling the faithful to pray, remember, and even come to acknowledge those enshrined in iconography. Some bells are recorded, but some are still rung by the attendants of the particular church. I never tired of them. In the Catholic tradition, not only are bells still rung from some of the churches, but also during Mass to announce special moments. In Judaism, it is not so much bells, but horns. The shofar is a distinct sound and acts like a bell to call, gather, and focus on the divine.
The teaching continued with explanation of hearing the half bell with our ears. But the other half of the bell is heard deep within - that intuitive center of us that beckons us to focus and come home to the present moment. We then can hear the bell with our ears and our being, making the sound of the bell whole and complete. If we only hear the bell with our ears, it is only half of its potential.
Somehow these two concepts, the inviting of the bell, and my personal practice of centering awareness of my own potential, are one and the same. It is easy to take in sensations through our eyes, ears, touch, taste, and smell, but how much more can be experienced and understood when we pause, center, draw on our internal source, and then fully embrace the sensation? In truth, it is an 'inviting' of the fullness of what is present.
Body, speech and mind in perfect oneness,
I send my heart along with the sound of this bell.
May all hearers awaken from forgetfulness,
and transcend the path of anxiety and sorrow.
I listen to this wonderful sound,
and it brings me back to my true home.
~Thich Nhat Hanh
~Thich Nhat Hanh