Some years ago I spent two weeks by myself on the island of Kauaʻi, renting a small, two-room cottage that I have not affectionately dubbed the Cockroach Hotel! Every day I killed 2 or 3 of them, some big enough to be saddled and ridden into Līhuʻe! When I came out of the airport terminal I was astonished to see chickens running all around! Every morning around 3 or 4am the roosters began their tryouts for American Idol, each escalating off of the others.
Some of my memories of Kauaʻi have pleasant feelings associated with them, some… not so much. Which brings me to a common misunderstanding that people have about spirituality and being spiritual: that it has to do with feelings. The fact is that feelings come and go and despite that our calling is to strive to be good, to do good, no matter what we are feeling. This can be difficult in the presence of strong emotions and feelings. In the end, one aspect of spirituality is the cultivation of an awareness of what needs to be remembered.
One thing which needs to be remembered is that we are more than just ourselves. We are also who our family and land have been, what we have done, repented of having done, what we have been given and what we have given to others. Living in a western culture which stresses individuality at the cost of responsibilities and placing an unbalanced emphasis on being a “self-made man” (or woman), we most need to cultivate the awareness that we did not give birth to ourselves. Our very life has been entrusted to us and when we give it back there will be an accounting of our stewardship of ʻāina, ʻohana and aloha.
Which makes me wonder about all of the eggs that must be strewn about Kauaʻi hidden under bushes and behind rocks: Do the chickens remember where they all are?