Friday, June 12, 2009

A River Runs Through Me

I'm not much of a meditator. Can't hang. My hands crave something to do; my mind is a humming bird, only interested in the candle flame for long enough to see it isn't a flower and move on. And my chiro tells me that my days of sitting crosslegged are over; that hip I cracked while roller skating when I was fifteen has finally caught up to me. Along with meditating poorly, I don't visualize well. There's something in my nature that distrusts and dislikes the notion of visualizing. Part of me says, "Hey! That's' not present moment! Get back here!" Problem is, that's not true. A visualization is a present moment activity; it's just one more engaged in the field of potentiality, where the virtual particles are, rather than the real. Ahhhh, the sweet smell of neutron clouds in the morning... they pass over the surface of the river by which I sit (crosslegged and comfortable). The small, poofy clouds of vapor disappear over the surface of the river when the sunlight touches them. They go happily to union. Me, I sit by the river. Not doing. Not babbling. Just being. Sitting. I don't always look like me; sometimes I look like a wizened old Zen monk, in a simple brown robe and a shiny bald head. Sometimes I look like Marie Antoinette in full court regalia. I have come to discover that it doesn't matter who it looks like is sitting at the river's edge, as long as I remember it's only just me.

It's me, sitting there by that river. It's a bend in the river; it curves gently away to my left, and to my right. And I sit.

This river is full of things, from the requisite old tire, antique & sodden brown leather boot to my thoughts and my feelings. Some things have shapes, like a giant crawdad/mutant lobster thingy or a metal dustbin with legs (at least 3) or a butterfly with a beehive hairdo, hornrimmed glasses and a ruler. Some are like the puffs of mist that vanish with the touch of the beloved sun. Every thing's in the river, and the river just keeps right on rolling by, easy as you please.

I am serene. I have pristine posture. The sun is good on my naked pate. Something pulls me from my enlightened reverie. I focus my eyes on the river and something emerges; it's headed right for me. Might be pretty, might not. Might be pleasing, might be frightening. Sometimes I want to pull it into my lap and snuggle it, sucking the comfort from it. Sometimes I want to grab a stick--I wouldn't want to touch some of these things--and fling it way, way away, to the other side of the river or beyond.

Instead, I treat each thing that emerges from the river in the same fashion: I pick it up as gently as I can and put it back in the river. The hardest things to put back are the things I want to coddle in my lap and the repulsive things I don't want to touch. But they all go back in the river, as I watch them arise from my consciousness and return to it.

I am not the things that emerge from my consciousness. I am not that which arises. I am the river, the trees, the mud, the water, the monk, the stick. When I let something emerge from the river and come right for me, I'm being shown elements of my consciousness that would like my attention. But they all go back in the river, and I remain serene, unattached and, well, meditative.

It's a nice day by the river today. So far, it's been pretty easy to put it all back in the river. But my life will keep heading right for me, offering me endless opportunities to identify myself with one thing or another. Or not. As the part of me that must function in this world gets up from my seat by the river, a part of me sits there still, watching things arise and recede, manifest and dissolve. And the river flows. I can't wait to see what happens if I ever get good at this.

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