Use Shakespeare

by bryan maynard

In Hamlet, King Claudius asks the young Prince:


“Was your father dear to you?/ 
Or are you like the painting of sorrow/ 
a face without a heart?”


Painting of Sorrow, A Face Without a Heart

It’s genius to write in this manner, and to frame the question with such poetic precision and grace! It makes me think about how often I partially enter into the experience of my emotions, painful or pleasant. Am I like a painting of joy or sorrow/a face without a heart!?

While I wish I could write in such an ingenius way (I really love words!),  I’m committed to the thought that true genius is in living skillfully, artfully, even poetically, through the myriad emotions and constantly changing realities of life. This doesn’t have to be all “heavy” work! I try to have fun with this. When I’m experiencing inner realities like loneliness or joy or judgment or fear, for example, I use this Shakespearean creativity to assess the quality of what I am experiencing and how I am present to it. I say, playfully 🙂

Was your present experience of joy dear to you? (Meaning: Are you present to this experience?)/ 
Or are you like the painting of joy/
a face without a heart?

The goal of spiritual practice is to accept the changing realities of reality, including changing emotions and changing circumstances of life, by being aware of what we are experiencing and holding that experience with attentive, compassionate lovingkindness.