Words from Janet Adler

The Stone Bowl and Emptiness

A stone bowl sits in the corner of my studio, silently receiving everything that happens here.  This bowl holds emptiness, it holds water, then again emptiness, now stones, emptiness and apples, now a candle glowing at the bottom in the center, emptiness, emptiness, all that begins, all that ends, again and again and again.

Dusk arrives once again. The studio is empty. I light a candle and sit at the stone bowl, tracing the rim of this empty circle with my hand, slowly, very slowly, so that I can feel the tool marks with my fingertips. Now I see others sitting with me around the bowl. Each one is vivid, present.

May the emptiness within this vessel be a source from which we can see more clearly.

Now my fingers stumble into a place where a tiny chip has fallen away, marking an indentation. Putting my finger in this hollow, I trace a dark and delicate line, a fissure that moves away from the wounded place. I must enter this crevice, this sacred imperfection. My heart follows the fault line into the density of the stone, into the density of this vessel, within this studio, this home, this nation, becoming our world. How will this crack in the container, this woundedness that is inherent in wholeness, call toward and receive the light of unbounded, conscious forces, strengthening our vessel? How will this same crack release the uncontained darkness of unconscious forces, threatening to shatter the whole of our fragile humanity?  

May the quality of consciousness

that is emerging collectively

within our world

outweigh the quantity of unconsciousness

that suffers on our planet.

May all suffering become compassion.

May we be ready, may we be able.

-Excerpt from Intimacy in Emptiness

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