Behold now the cup. When I wrote the original piece, I never contemplated a part two, but I have since learned it would be a serious omission not to consider all that the cup represents. As I wrote about in part one, the ocean is vast and metaphorically infinite. And a cupful of this ocean still contains the infinite ocean essence. I liken the ocean and cupful of ocean to spirit and soul. The spirit is infinite and the soul is a fragment or portion of that infinity.
During our soul’s passage through our individual lifetime, it incarnates into a single human being. That human being is the sacred vessel wherein the soul is contained. This sacred vessel is represented by the cup. It is a body-mind unit and the soul, which it carries, represents a portion of spirit. The entire package of body, mind, and spirit is a unique expression of creation.
When the potter fashions the clay of what becomes the cup, when the cup is thrown upon the wheel and shaped, when it is decorated, glazed, and fired in a kiln, there are always imperfections. Over time, more imperfections might emerge—a chip, a blemish, a crack. These imperfections all represent features of the cup. In much the same way, our body-mind has areas of imperfection. We have physical and mental limitations, wounds, trauma, wear, and tear. Never do these judgements about any imperfections diminish the perfection of what lies within.
The recognition that the body-mind has imperfections can lead to the false conclusion that it is not divine unto itself. Yet, it is a unique expression of creation and thus an expression of divinity.
And it is the means through which we come to learn about divinity both contained within (the spirit of God dwells within) and the divinity that imbues all of creation that surrounds us. In a material existence, the cup is both the vessel that houses the essence of divinity, and it is the vehicle through which we learn, gather experiences, and come to understand that our appearance of disconnection from source is an appearance only. This soul-in-body experience, during which we have forgotten our connection to source consciousness, is the means through which we remember that connection and journey back to awareness of our infinite source.
Some teachings hold that the body and/or the mind are the origin of sin or separation from source. In these teachings, denying the appetites of the body and desires of the mind are the means to spiritual growth. Sexual expression is often tainted as sinful in nature, without allowing for healthy sexual expression and experiences. An ascetic life of self-denial is often promoted as a way to overcome the inherent sinfulness of humankind. I ask, what does it mean to be fully human and fully divine? Does denying our humanity somehow lead to perfection of the body? Is cleansing of the mind the path to purification of the soul? It doesn’t make sense to me to treat the body or the mind as something anything less than divine.
I would argue that progressive embodied spirituality is a path to enlightenment. Embodied spirituality represents a way to become perfectly human and perfectly divine. Integrating the soul-self (the higher self) into the awareness of the egoic self (an aspect of the body-mind) is part of the evolution of our consciousness. Recognizing is re-cognizing, it is a rethinking and understanding that the cup, with all its perceived imperfections and limitations, is every bit an expression of divinity as the essence of divinity it carries. We are all unique cups and we are all sacred vessels that carry the infinite ocean that we share in unified consciousness.