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.