• Mathura Hawley

instrument

Updated: Aug 1, 2021


Then Jai put his hands on my shoulders and said, “My friend, I think we have found your instrument.” They had seen and heard and felt the shiny, wooden stick that I had held in my hand."

I swallowed my pride and went to Kirtan at the Bhakti Center last night with Om. I felt very awkward and uncomfortable, mostly because I was ashamed to stand at the altar, knowing the train wreck that was the last week of my relationship and my life included my actions. I walked into the empty temple, put my head to the floor, and cried like a child. People began to fill the room. Jai offered a welcome. We chanted and sang for two hours. Ignoring my self-conscious fear, I picked up and played an instrument for the first time. And I wasn’t shy about it. I put my whole heart and body into it, making the sound bigger and smaller, shattering the vibration against my other hand or sending it through the air in joyful excess. After the final round, it was dark except for the glow of the deities, and I was so enveloped by the love in the room that I put down the instrument and put my head back to the floor, yet instead of saying “I’m sorry,” I blurted out “Thank you,” over and over. When I opened my eyes, there was a pretty woman beside me I hadn’t seen before, wide-eyed with excitement. She asked if I was a musician because she had witnessed me playing this instrument with so much conviction and rhythm. I couldn’t remember how I had played, just how it felt. Then Jai put his hands on my shoulders and said, “My friend, I think we have found your instrument.” They had seen and heard and felt the shiny, wooden stick that I had held in my hand. How could they know what they had heard was an expression of the torment and remorse that had torn my partner and myself to shreds over the last couple of weeks and months, an extension of the pain originating in me over four decades ago. Om and I, battered and bruised by the recent release of our demons, sat side by side, but just a little bit closer than the week before. I wondered. What if I am no longer alone to go off the cliffs of my troubles? What if I accept the seemingly outrageous idea that there is a spirit in the form of a little blue boy with a flute who now guards my life? Is it ok to feel gratitude, even before I fully understand what this is all about? Please, please say that it is. Because I have spent all of my life worried that someone was watching me, that I deserve the anxiety and fear that fills me from each day’s sunrise. And now, I am learning to accept these unexpected moments that scare me and excite me and fill me and carry me. So I will try to let go. That way, maybe I can see the man playing the instrument the way that everyone else sees him. Because we are all instruments. And nothing is in our hands. Nothing.



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