My landlord finally agreed to replace the old stove. We had been living for six weeks without a working oven. The delivery men had arrived with the new stove and were removing the old one. And I was about to have a spiritual lesson from a piece of junk.
This stove was over 20 years old and I had been living with it for less than two months. Now useless junk, I watched it being wheeled out through the backdoor.
Suddenly, I began to think/feel about all the people, all the human souls, that had been connected to the stove:
- All the people who worked for the manufacturer who made it, the appliance dealer who sold it to the building contractor and the guy that installed it. How many individuals had been involved in bringing the stove into the house it was now leaving?
- All the people whose bodies had been nourished by the food cooked on the stove. I have no idea how many people have lived in this house but over 20 years as many as 20,000 meals could have been prepared using the stove.
I did not know any of these individuals personally, but we had a connection through this metal object.
Rudolf Steiner said we must materialize spirit and spiritualize matter. I share this wisdom often in my writing and teaching. How often do I apply it in my life?
But these thoughts about the old stove, put this wisdom into practice and it felt very good to my soul. I wasn’t being sentimental: I was being morally awake. I was recollecting the human meaning, purpose and significance, and honoring the numerous human connections living in an old appliance. I was spiritualizing matter.
It took me less 20 seconds to think the thoughts and feel the feelings. but I have spent a number of minutes sharing the experience with others and now I am taking about 30 minutes to write this post. About 3000 people will read this post and some will be inspired to think spiritually and morally about the mundane things in their lives.
Yes, the stove is now on a waste pile somewhere along with thousands of other discarded, useless objects. It is part of the ecological challenge of waste. But energetically something spiritually dynamic is living in my consciousness and now in yours. The stove that was used to feed bodies, fed my soul with insight and my heart with awe for all the human initiative and connection that came together around this appliance over its “usetime.”
You might want to make it a spiritual practice whenever you throw something out to momentarily bring your attention to its relationship to the engagement of so many human souls, the thoughts, feelings, and initiatives, surrounding its existence.
What also happened in those few seconds of honoring the old stove and its role in the human community, was the preparation for the new stove.
We took a few minutes and some focused energy to clean the stove space (twenty years of other people’s spills and ant traps, etc.) The new stove was installed into a place that was clean and prepared.
Always have a thoughtful moment when you say goodbye. Always put some thought into preparing for the new.
Reminder: We are approaching Inner Advent when you bring your inner attention to saying goodbye to your old year and preparing for the new. To learn about Inner Advent click here.