Some years ago I was presented with the analogy of spiritual journey, of life itself, as a tapestry.
I can’t remember who told the story, when, or where, but it has stuck with me, and I have offered it as a teaching often.
The story told the tale of a great tapestry master weaver, speaking to a young apprentice about the process of creating a tapestry.
“A great weaver doesn’t look at the completed side of the tapestry until he or she is finished with it. This person is in perfect alignment with their own skills and mastery, has faith that their hands are guided, and has no need to check to see how it’s going. The side that the weaver sees looks like a mess, filled with knots and hanging threads, unfinished bits, there doesn’t seem to be a coherent pattern. Yet he goes on in faith that it will turn out as he has envisioned.”
He looks directly at the apprentice and tells her,
“It is the same with your life. It is the same with your spiritual journey. Do you go on your way, through the dark places, the difficult times, the times of light and peace with the same intention of heart? Do you worry and fret because you think you are off the path, led astray, shaken by sickness, conflict, abandonment, lack of money? All incarnated souls encounter difficulties and blockages. Karma. Can you go about your spiritual practice, your work, your relationships, your life experience in calm trust in the process? It is a process that you have started yourself, asking the Divine before you ever came to the earth to guide your steps, to instruct you, to guard and guide you. Do you think the Divine didn’t hear you?
The same mastery that you can bring to your tapestry building, can be trusted in your outer experience. You can allow yourself to be knocked off the path, yes. But you don’t have to. What is your vision of the finished tapestry of your life?”
There’s the question. What does your finished tapestry look like? If the weaver is unskilled, or careless, or allows her mind to wander, or is simply not committed to a beautiful creation, then there will be mistakes. Missed runs, errors, imbalance. Stop for a moment, close your eyes, and envision what your life will look like when the tapestry is turned around and you can view it in its entirety.
Yikes. In my own case there have been some rough spots, I’ve been careless with my body, my relationships. There has been divorce, conflict, accidents, sickness, lack of wisdom at all levels. There have been great awakenings, experiences of light and joy. I have been so blessed with a powerful and loving spiritual father and teacher, mother and grandmother-hood, wonderful animal friends, loving parents, dear husband. Probably the foremost is a continuous and committed spiritual practice that assists me to stay aligned, with myself, with those whom I would serve, with God.
I believe that there is a golden thread that runs through it all that unites these experiences and brings harmony. For me this thread is an ongoing deep conviction that I am an expression of the Divine itself, that my life is the perfect life of the universe, and if my head goes underwater from time to time as I swim the waters of this journey it doesn’t matter.
My over-soul is always there, the light is always there. Like the sun that shines on and on, unperturbed by the clouds that cover the earth at times. The sun doesn’t care, doesn’t even recognize the clouds or their shadows, it just shines. It is the same with the Divine I do believe. It perceives our light and shines on us and in us, when we permit it.
I heard a great quote by a Jesuit theologian who said,
“Do you know what we know about God? Nothing. We have opinions.”
I agree, and yet don’t we mostly all believe that there’s something greater than we at the wheel? Do we not feel a living presence within us that is delicious? I believe that the love of the infinite intelligence of infinite universes is the life of my being. The overriding hand that guides the weaver, guides me too. I want to view my best possible tapestry, and do what I can do to bring it into being.
Kristin Strachan compassionbuddha.net