China plates

August 30, 2012

I mentioned putting out the best china in my last post.  It was an analogy for using a more enlightened version of ourselves, a version which sometimes is not appreciated by others or is even appropriate to the situation.

So I talked about using paper or plastic dishes instead, the way one would at a picnic or barbeque.

Of course, there my imagery breaks down in its usefulness.  If I’ve got good china in a spiritual sense, when I use the everyday stuff (again, in a spiritual sense), or even paper or plastic, it’s enhanced.  It may look like the store brand of flimsy paper, but it’s actually really strong.  I want to say it’s flexible, resilient, and permeable — but my housewares analogy won’t support that.

People often talk about how their faith allows them to bend like a willow and not break the way something brittle would (of course, willow trees are notoriously easily uprooted, I think, so I’m not sure how far that imagery goes, either).

What I would want to convey, through what imagery I’m not sure, is that once you’ve got your best china, even when you use the everyday or the paper or plastic, it includes the ability to see things in an enlightened way — seeing things as being more in harmony, seeing things less divided into dual categories, and seeing how to re-frame a situation so as to bring to light a positive from it (growing flowers from detritus).

I don’t think we can say the fine china becomes embedded in the casual stuff and have that statement make much sense in the physical world, but that’s what I think happens in terms mental perspective  — when we go back down into the hurly-burly of interactions between people with their egos in pretty full play, we have an extra bit of space from which to observe with detachment before we translate our response into words and action.

What I think I’m looking for is a more helpful image with which to communicate how this enhanced process of responding might be understood.

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2 Responses to “China plates”

  1. Richard Says:

    Interesting article in today’s NYT about souviners in the travel section

    • Diana Moses Says:

      Thank you, Richard. I loved most of it. I disagreed strongly with the last two paragraphs. I don’t expect my kids to be interested in my stuff particularly — I think they’d want a couple of things as souvenirs of me, not as souvenirs of whatever for me they were remembrances of. I also appreciated the attitude the author demonstrated about collecting souvenirs, having been told by my father that I was like a dog encountering a fire hydrant with regard to souvenir shops. Luckily my maternal grandmother had the sort of affinity for souvenirs I seem to have — I have her curio cabinet with its souvenirs from places my grandparents visited on freighters — so I did know there were competing value systems on this subject, but it’s nice to read such an eloquent account of one as you pointed out, and in the newspaper of record.


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