The first concept introduced in MBSR Programs is, “there’s more right with you than wrong with you.” Beneath the stressful situations of our lives lies a “hidden treasure” buried deep in our being that is unscathed and whole. When we stop the busyness of our lives and practice developing present moment mindful awareness, we can learn, grow, and gain insight . We can move beyond our stories of what’s wrong with us and open to the possibility of getting back in touch with this wholeness.
When we encounter major stress in our life there is a risk of over- identifying with the source of this stress and allowing it to become an overwhelming part of our identity. This is especially true when our major source of stress is a chronic illness.
The mystical 13th century poet, Rumi, wrote a poem, “The Pickaxe” (below) that points us towards discovering this “hidden treasure.” It inspires hope of getting back in touch with this “jewel treasure” of wholeness buried deep inside.
Some commentary on I was a hidden treasure,
and I desired to be known; tear down
this house. A hundred thousand new houses
can be built from the transparent yellow carnelian
buried beneath it, and the only way to get to that
is to do the work of demolishing and then
digging under the foundations. With that value
in hand all the new construction will be done
without effort. And anyway, sooner or later this house
will fall on its own. The jewel treasure will be
uncovered, but it won’t be yours then. The buried
wealth is your pay for doing the demolition,
the pick and shovel work. If you wait and just
let it happen, you’d bite your hand and say,
“I didn’t do as I knew I should have.” This
is a rented house. You don’t own the deed.
You have a lease, and you’ve set up a little shop,
where you barely make a living sewing patches
on torn clothing. Yet only a few feet underneath
are two veins, pure red and bright gold carnelian.
Quick! Take the pickaxe and pry the foundation.
You’ve got to quit the seamstress work.
What does the patch-sewing mean, you ask. Eating
and drinking. The heavy cloak of the body
is always getting torn. You patch it with food,
and other restless ego-satisfactions. Rip up
one board from the shop floor and look into
the basement. You’ll see two glints in the dirt.