Normally, I’m all for meditation. All over it in fact, every morning.
There are “mindfulness” programs in schools, especially inner city ones where all the kids are on the free lunch program and 70% of the kids when asked will answer yes to the question, ” Do you know anyone whose been shot and killed?”
Ditto, for this program in jails. This program is very helpful and successfull. Simply put, it brings in the pause ( the old “count to ten”) before you hit someone on the playground. It’s very helpful. In schools like the ones I teach at, this program is maybe less necessary.
After school art class had been over for a while and I was cleaning up. David was hanging out while I did this. I thought he was waiting for his parent to pick him up. He is lithe and lively and bounced around in his tiny six year old body talking to me as I gathered my tools and such.
Almost done, I checked my list and saw that David was supposed to go to the schools’ after care program so I mention perhaps he should get on down there.
His bouncy body slumps into a giant C as he plunks down in a chair.
“What’s wrong? Don’t you like after care? Why not?”
“UGH! They make us Meditate.”
(Feigning indignation I say) “What!? Meditate!? You mean you don’t get to run around with a ball or something? What do they make you do, listen to a bell?” (Knowing they do this)
“Meditation is, well, (groan) it’s hard to explain.”
Why is there always so much of it?
I can look at life two ways: vertically and horizontally.
The vertical axis involves me and the absolute. The part of all this that is timeless and does not end and extends past the body.
The horizontal axis is all the lateral relationships of people, places and things with which I am involved.
Clearly all the business to accomplish is lateral and not going to extend past this life.
So why am I practically killing myself trying to get it all done?
I let Justin (1st grade) cut out early to the playground. Ellen (3rd grade) sees this and she wants out early too. I say no doing. Justin can hardly sit still for five minutes let alone 60. He’s two years younger and made to run.
Ellen, two years older, is somber and capable. I want to get at least one more piece out of her before she leaves for the week. We settle on “a flower” I wad up the clay in a certain way and start to show her something I know she can accomplish In the time she has left. After my quick demo, she’s doing her own kind of flower. She’s decided she needs to make a rose and that she needs to make it petal by petal. I explain that we don’t have time for this kind of flower and besides the clay we are using today (drier than usual) is not suited to a rose made petal by petal.
At this point Michael, who is in 2nd grade, chimes in with his opinion. He says a flower is a flower and that you don’t need to get all caught up in the type of flower. I turn my attention to him and gaze into his wider than wide eyes. Michael’s eyes are so big. I stare into them forever and reach the something in me that never goes away. This takes maybe 30 seconds and I turn my attention back to Ellen and let her cut out early.
I bicycled alone, self supporting from Seattle, WA to Oakland, CA this summer so I biked a lot of Highway One. One of the many things that happens when you are doing this is, you start to meet other people traveling Hwy 1 on their own power and you naturally take an interest in each other.
This past weekend driving it to Big Sur, CA. I saw three touring bicyclists. I waved.
Then I saw a young couple with backpacks. I wondered if they were walking between towns which would have been strange enough or if they were hiking Hwy 1 as I’d met a few people doing that. I noticed the guy was walking in his socks and immediately decided they were doing the highway itself. People who walk the coastline highway are even crazier than those who bike it.
Without the moat, hundreds can die unnecessarily. That little bit of water tells those smart ants that the honey is inaccessible. If I forget the moat or leave the honey out unprotected on a cold rainy night, I wake up to a kitchen full of enormously industrious ants going to and from. They communicating about it all., as well. I think it’s amazing how when two of them meet from opposite directions, they stop to check in with each other. What do they say?
Weeks before my teacher died he said if he and an ant were the only two beings left living on earth, how glad they would be to see each other and how he would try his hardest to make friends with the ant. How can you make friends with an ant?! Well, by not killing him for starters.
After thinking about befriending an ant, I can no longer massacre them so when my carelessness leaves me with a kitchen counter full of busy ants, I remove the honey. It is mind blogging how fast those very smart ants clear out.
When you don’t have a significant other,
as a special some one
then everyone becomes special
so there’s lots of cards to make
Like Einstein said,
There’s two ways to look at the world,
Like everything’s a miracle
Or like nothing is.