These are some of the wayang gedog, gedog puppets or shadow puppets, first created and used in 16th century Indonesia….which of course wasn’t yet Indonesia. I saw them yesterday on a visit to Taman Mini cultural center, here in Jakarta. I was quite taken by them…mesmerized, really. Carved from water buffalo leather,they have extraordinary detail–the tiniest curls of hair, the finest line of a moustache–and are sumptuously painted though the puppets would only ever be seen in shadow form from the other side of a screen.
It was a moment of…what? Profound connection…a certain roomy looseness and generosity in the Cosmos…a deep breath of Aha…. to see them. When I saw these characters, these puppets, I could immediately see/hear the stories they wanted to tell–good versus evil, beautiful princesses, nasty witches…it was nearly as though the puppets spoke to me…or to the part of me that enters into and understands Story. Story Universal.
And That was something that truly moved me…the puppets represent something that I understand already–but teach me even more about it, make it something more full, more whole, because it comes alive in different clothing, different languages, different contexts. This element of relationship between what is deeply known/felt/recognized and learning even more about it by the experience of difference seems to me to have everything to do with freedom and integration… of expanding toward the infinity of God and becoming more deeply, fully, who I am as created by God.
And that expansion/contraction movement, the flow of inner~outer~inner, is the heartbeat of true Home…it is an exquisite, intricately unique and astoundingly beautiful dance between God and each one of us.