A quarterly specialized journal
The Message Of Folklore from Bahrain To The World

Pearls and tears

Issue 15
Pearls and tears

Bazzeh Al Batini (Kuwait)

The pearl of wisdom’ is a generic term used in the East to describe many books and references to medicine, guidance and inspiration. The Chinese believe that dragons’ brains are made of pearl.

The dragon, a symbol of wisdom, must be killed if one is to access the treasure that it contains. This implies that a person who seeks knowledge and wisdom has to endure major hardships, experiences and physical and mental suffering on his quest.
The pearl of wisdom can only be acquired after one has let go of one’s previous life in order to reach for the best and most valuable. We stand before the great ocean inside ourselves and espy in the dark a shining pearl, accumulated wounds, love as yet undiscovered, and wisdom to be gained. Are we willing to travel that ocean and confront risks in order to arrive at the treasure?
It is easy to guess why the pearl is associated with health, good omens, money and beauty, but harder to understand why it is also associated with sorrow and tears. Some would suggest that pearls are associated with sadness because they are so hard to find, and because pearl divers face so many dangers. Another view is that one has to crack open an oyster and end a life in order to get the pearl!
The simplest explanation for the correlation between pearls and tears lies in how a pearl is formed. In response to an irritant that enters the oyster shell, the mollusk in the oyster shell secretes nacre in a process reminiscent of the tears secreted when the human eye is irritated by sand or dust. The shell is shaped like an eye and it opens and closes just as eyelids do, and both oysters and eyes shed tears; the pearl is one of the noblest of achievements because the weak mollusk transforms pain into something precious. We can also learn to transcend pain.
Freedom of choice and destiny are very close. Sometimes we get ourselves into trouble and sometimes we do not know how we came to be in trouble. Trouble may paralyze, numb and isolate us, even making our life hell. Troubles cannot be forgotten or ignored. Some people are subdued by them, some learn important lessons and some respond with creativity.

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