Poking a Stick at Life and Death (A Silent Retreat)

red bud

I want to see things as they are
without me. Why, I don’t know.
As a kid I always looked
at roadkill close up, and poked
a stick into it. I want to look at death
with eyes like my own baby eyes,
not yet blinded by knowledge.
I told this to my friend the monk,
and he said Want, want, want/
—Chase Twichell

I want to see things as they are without me. 

Love this poem—big meaning in little space. 

Plus, it makes me laugh.

Yes, and the retreat was another good joke on seeking. There were some moments.... 

During meditation, I had been struggling between aggravation, frustration, despair and numbed, hazy headed mental states, specifically—nodding off again (and again) and futilely fighting it. 

At one point we had been very gently directed to look for a stillness—and sleep was definitely not the kind of quiet intended. 

I fought through one afternoon meditation, and then another. At the third, things got interesting. Something stopped, and even when "it" wasn't silent, there was a bright and lucid awareness. 

Walking back toward my room I passed a lovely tree that I'd enjoyed many times. This time it looked different, new.  Stunned, I stopped on the steps at eye level with the tree's raging pink-red blossoms, lay on my back on a ledge, and gazed. 

The tree was alive with color, energy and sound! It  emitted an intense hum, an entomological aum as millions of bees moved from flower to flower fixated on their "work." 

Here was another universe, gorgeous, zealously active, and as relevant as my own. 

I want to see things as they are without me. 

I got up, walked past the yoga room, took a shower, and went to dinner.

This too is yoga.

Want, want, want!

— gratitude!

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