A Child of Illusion
Yesterday I experienced a particularly restful meditation session before beginning my morning tasks. Mia and I are taking a Lojong, or mind training, class in the city and began our studies this week. This particular practice involves working with a series of slogans that, in some sense, coach one through the experience of cultivating ultimate bodhichitta. So far, one of my favorite slogans is “In postmeditation, be a child of a illusion.”
The simplest way to understand this experience is to understand that it is possible to carry the calmness, awareness, and mindfulness that accompany a meditation session into the activities of daily life. As one text points out, things to not feel as “claustrophobic.” We may not experience our day-to-day as claustrophobic, but in many cases that is because we haven’t experienced anything counter to that.
I slowly ate my lunch at Earth Fare, the largest health food store with a full cafeteria and bakery in the city. Time was not an issue. I was utterly uninterested in it. I walked through the crowd unperturbed and felt as though I was watching everything from a distance, while also being right in the thick of it. (Recall, this is the same day that I felt I was watching myself from some tiny pedestal in my gut. This feeling often accompanies deep sorrow, which is a settling, grounded feeling.)
At a certain point I thought popped into my mind. Cissy just walked in the store. She is here. I will see her soon. Within about forty seconds she rounded the bend and her gaze stumbled directly into mine from across the cafeteria. I smiled slowly and knowingly, not at all surprised to see her, but still totally impacted be the energy of her presence. I remember her pose as she saw me – she was mid-step – because she held it for several breaths before moving on.
There were at least several hundred people in the store, and I hadn’t even planned on being there. Seeing her was coincidence enough; knowing she would be there and being right about it felt quite intense.
I noticed she had come with a friend and clearly it was a planned lunch date. I finished my food slowly and meandered over to her table. She held my hand and gripped it gently, warmly. We held hands the entire time we talked. I wondered if she was taking my pulse? She introduced me to her friend. I thanked her for her work from last week’s appointment and told her I had met with Joe that morning to gather my herbs. She smiled softly when I said his name.
As our conversation ended I knelt down to be closer to eye level with her (she was sitting at her table all along, I was standing in the aisle). “You’re a very powerful woman, you know,” I said. She actually looked away for a moment quite quickly, then her eyes returned to me. Our hands dropped. I considered telling her that I knew she was in the store before I saw her, but decided against it. I don’t claim to be a psychic in any way, and didn’t want her to think I was pulling something hokey. “You really are,” I added, “I hope you know that.” Then I slowly got up and walked away. She said nothing but her eyes followed me all the way out the door.