Monday, May 2, 2011

Mindful Monday: Unveiled

It's wedding season. I just returned from my second of two out-of-town weddings in the past two weeks. I traveled far and near. I bought a new dress. My bridesmaid duties have been fulfilled.

But all this wedding business has me thinking a lot about veils. In a traditional white-dress wedding, the bride's veil is symbolic of the bride's purity.

From Wikipedia: "The lifting of the veil was often a part of ancient wedding ritual, symbolising the groom taking possession of the wife, either as lover or as property, or the revelation of the bride by her parents to the groom for his approval."

Romantic, huh?

I don't have any statistics to prove it, but I think all this virginal bride stuff isn't very common today. Brides do the whole veil thing because it's tradition or fashionable ... but it's usually kind of a facade.

This past weekend, as I traveled for a wedding, I read an article by Sally Kempton about avidya, meaning delusion or ignorance. It's like we're walking through life with a veil in front of our faces, unable to see who we really are. We're not trying to fool our friends and families into thinking we're virgins, but we're fooling ourselves. As humans, we identify with our emotions, thoughts, and feelings, but that's not who we really are. When sadness emerges, we think "I'm sad." Kempton suggests a change in that inner dialogue. Instead of thinking "I'm sad," what if we thought, "Here's some sadness"? Instead of identifying with feelings (both good and bad), just notice them and observe without judgment. It's only when we lift the veil that can we can begin to see that we are much more than our emotions and thoughts. I think it's still OK to wear them as a fashion statement, though.