The first thing you notice about Ganesha is that head. It's huge. It's got large floppy ears and a long trunk for a nose.
The second thing you notice is his arms, of which there are four (sometimes six). He offers a blessing with one. Holds an axe in another. Sometimes he carries a rope. Always he holds a bowl of sweets.
But the one thing you can't ignore about this massive deity: His eyes. They always have a benevolent look.
Though it's not possible to see his mouth, you just know there's a grin under his tusk. His eyes just look happy, content, and loving.
Ganesha removes all obstacles. That axe he's got in his hand: that's to help clear the path. That rope. It's there to help pull you towards your goals. At times, he holds a trident. It reminds us of the three powers of love, wisdom, and action.
For me, Ganesha offers the idea of putting those things into play.
I've written a lot lately about the notion of approaching a day with love in my heart. When I manage to do this, my day always goes better. Love is the first and most important notion. Being raised in a christian tradition, I always found the verse in first Corinthians about love to be useful and instructive. Not so much for marriage, as it's often used, but for life in general.
"4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres."
- 1 Corinthians 13
Wisdom, is not a thing to be trifled with. It's usually appreciated by old people who nod wisely and speak stupidly (I stole that - not sure where). Wisdom can teach a person everything, but the learning burns up years and years. So, I do not ask for wisdom as much as I ask for lessons from the wise. Ganesha offers this lesson.
Action, on the other hand, is a thing I understand. My friend Phil says of me, "You're a doer." He has this idea that I just take action. I suppose that's true, but I'm not sure it's any where near a super power. It's just something I'm comfortable with - taking action.
The threefold notion of love, wisdom, and action can not help but destroy obstacles. Ganesha - to my mind - is a representation of these things. I keep a small Ganesha statue on my bedside table. I host one in my meditation room. I ponder them often.
I still face obstacles, just like the rest of the world. Face them every day. Dead ends. Closed doors. Money. Yep, I see them all. I do not let them bother me too much. I light a small stick of incense and ponder Ganesha and his reminder to love and act. I'm working on the wisdom part too.
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