For many years now I’ve thought a button that could switch off thinking would be a most excellent idea. Often I meditate with the hidden goal of slowly letting go of the thoughts that cascade through my mind. With the attendant hope of dropping into the peace below, into wordlessness.
And then along came the month of March, which took me and turned me upside down and shook me until my pockets were empty of words and most thought. During the last two weeks of the month I unwillingly discovered a new route to silence. This body put on quite a show: coughing, shivering, fevering its way back to health. It was my first flu in years. I had forgotten how stupid the mind can get when the body’s resources are needed for another battle. Becoming wordless was the least of my worries, and it was happening without doing anything, or at least anything my body could control.
The first half of the month, before the flu, I had sought and found a more desirable kind of silence when I was on vacation in Maui. I spent vast stretches of time staring at the ocean from my perch on the hill above. Gradually the mind slowed down, stunned into silence by beauty. With mind confronted by the beauty of clouds and rainbows and whale-spume fountains, words seemed less and less important. This was the wordlessness of awe, the stuff of poetry:
Wanting a profound reflection to speak from the tropical sea,
I search for a Venus of meaning
emerging from the froth,
the dark deep source of watery mystery
And what is here is
White dove calling, Minahs preening.
Goats bleating and chickens strutting.
Beneath the ecstatic shiver of palm fronds.
Eyes shift for the long view,
And there’s the proof that a line once went for a walk
And etched a silhouette: a perfect island just across the bay.
The sun slowly exposes her reclining form
Lanai shelters my head and calls my soul.
Then the rose gold slowly fades
As the day picks itself up from the chaise lounge,
And moves into itself.
Now, here in the world of apparently ordinary reality, as body heals, I’m still steeping in the quiet hangover of peace, finding once again that it is available any time, any time I remember.