Sunday, March 21, 2010

Singing Bowls

When I leave the house on Saturday morning, I think, "I love staying home with my kids." And, it never fails at the end of my day when I leave the bookstore, I think, "I love my job." Since I'm focused on encounters, I must share my favorite from yesterday. Trust me, on Saturdays there are many possibilities but this is my favorite. Near the end of the day, a long time customer walked into the store ahead of me and I greeted him as he entered. He turned around surprised to see me come in the front. (I had just been outside talking with an intoxicated Nigerian man who towered above me complaining of hunger. A different story.) My customer announced that he had come for a large statue. Luckily, we had just received Sacred Heart and Immaculate Heart 32" statues and we had several 24" statues also. We spoke for only a few minutes before he asked me to lift the Immaculate Heart so he could feel the weight himself. He slightly raised her and said, "She is the one." He paid and I walked Mary to the car and put her on the back seat amongst the dog blankets. (His dog was very sweet and hung out in the parking lot while we talked.) He stood behind me as I turned and said randomly, "I have the largest collection of Singing Bowls of anyone in the U.S. I don't tell you that to brag but it is significant." (I'm thinking and why?) "I love Thomas Merton and the ways of the monks. Have spent a lot of time in monasteries and retreats and in meditation. The Singing Bowls are used by the Buddhists to bring the monks to their center. Just a slight tap from the striker and the tone lasts for quite some time." As he drew his hand back and forth, imitating striking the bowl, I could almost hear the sound. It was the weirdest feeling but it brought me in to focus on his words. He spoke about previous Catholic priests that we both knew and he spoke about Buddhism and Catholicism and the Eucharist and monks and meditation and again he strikes the Singing Bowl and again I could hear the tone, feel the vibration. Now call me crazy, but I felt called to pay attention to this encounter. I even had to google Singing Bowls to see what it was I was hearing. As we parted, I thought of the moment as odd but my heart was happy and my spirit light. Hmmm. I wonder how long this tone in my head will last and how long it will keep me in focus. Ringing bells during the Consecration; striking Singing Bowls; encountering old friends and old ways that bring us into our center. Hearing the different tones in the voices of my children to bring me to focus on each one separately. Paying attention. As I drove home from work and into my driveway I thought, "I love my work but I love to be home." My own little singing bowls started when I opened the back door, as if tapped with the striker.


  1. Ringing bells during the Consecration- Why did this ever stop??

  2. About the bells, I heard they were used primarily before Vatican II when the participants in the Mass could not see what the priest was doing because his back turned. The bells signified the consecration for those who could not see. Once the priest began to face the congregation, then the bells were not necessary. Now, I am not sure why they were brought back, except for tradition.