Thursday, January 7, 2010

Comfort Soup

I confess. I am a "feelings" junkie. I live in a thick bubbling soup of feelings. I am not so much a thinker but a feeler. This rich stew of feelings is like a pot of winter evening soup, roiling and boiling. Ingredients rise to the top and surface at random, a small fluffy dumpling of delight, one moment, the pungent scent of fear, next, perhaps, a hard lump of sadness later.

As the sun disappeared this evening, the soup sent up little tendrils of melancholy for no apparent reason. Sometimes there is a reason, as in someone turned up the heat on the pot, but sometimes feelings just arise. Is there some deep human sense of melancholy associated with the falling of night or the depth of winter? Or is it something more karmic, peculiar to this body/mind in this lifetime, or perhaps carried over from other lifetimes if you care to tug on that green bean.

I can remember my Zen teacher once saying to me "that feelings were not a good measure of things". If the soup gets too hot, it can burn your mouth. Like our thoughts, feelings are cycling through, ebbing and flowing and not a solid ground on which to rest our choices. They are impermanence manifest in the heart. A favourite bumper sticker of mine is "don't believe everything you think." Ditto for feelings too.

As I write theses words it seems important to distinguish "feelings" from that deeper sense of "knowing" that comes from inside, that may seem illogical or irrational but carries intuitive information that is a good basis for choices. I am learning to work with this. It can be very difficult to discern this "knowing" and only through experimenting with it, it seems to me, do we get an actual sense of it. I remember a number of us asking our teacher with such urgency, "how will I know the still small voice?" "how can I distinguish it from my imaginings and my longings?" Have faith and patience she would say and you will become acquainted with it.

And so as I sit here on this wintery, evening, the furnace has come on and there is a soft yellow glow to the light coming from the dining room. I think there is a tasty bowl of soup being created in the kitchen, filled with wonderful comforting things like cabbage and tomato and onion and potatoes. Comfort is bubbling to the top.


  1. What a beautiful post, ending with the feeling of comfort. The darkness this time of year can be heavy or cozy, depends on the day for me.

  2. "This rich stew of feelings is like a pot of winter evening soup, roiling and boiling. Ingredients rise to the top and surface at random..." Such a beautiful post, thank you:)

  3. I think it is hard to separate one's feelings from their constant stream of consciousness-- the dialog in our head-- ongoing with ourselves.
    I do not do well with the constant days of gray we get here in the NW. have to find the light in my studio

  4. Thanks so much for stopping by on a blustery evening! Your support is heart-warming.

    Leslie: you have the wonderful, uncanny ability to find the silver lining in the cloud. Looking up, my Zen teacher called it, and you are such an encouraging example of this!

    Patricia: as always so nice to have you here on the path!

    Donna: it's like which comes first the chicken or the egg, as you point out the feelings and thoughts are so interconnected. and we share the same grey skies of the Pacific Northwest! It is always amazing (or not) to see how deeply the we are connected to the weather and other elements of our environment.

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