Tiny pearls of dew on the grass. A slight chill in the air–end of summer. I seem to have settled into a place of peace. Overgrown leaves of grass crisscross each other–– a tangle of green with tips of dew, glinting in the sunlight. Small drops of moisture floating down through the air. At times one can settles into these quiet places. A slight rustle of the trees.
Just being present in the moment, the senses come alive and open up to more of what’s around. One pull at the thread of sight leads you into a sound of a bird and soon one is in a tapestry of the senses, and you are a figure in the weaving, interwoven.
This happened once during a vipassana retreat, settling into a place of peace and deep awareness, seemingly without effort. I asked the monk U Silananda about it and he called it “Grace.” Maybe because otherwise he couldn’t explain this state happening to someone like me, with so much thinking going on. He said these experiences come and go. They aren’t a permanent state. What else would you expect a Buddhist monk to say? But for a moment there it was, just like today.
We want permanence, but it is best to take it as it comes, and today I am very content to let things come. Another rustle in the top of the trees. The increasing warmth of my body as the sun rises in the sky.
There is a scene in the novel Taipan where the “taipan” a very pragmatic and not very religious man was sitting in a Jesuit Garden. He’d just been through an emotional ordeal which had been resolved with the help of the Jesuits. And he was just sitting there appreciating the garden in the moment, appreciating the beauty of the world and the life around him. The abbot enters and pauses, watching the man. Eventually he approaches the man and says to him, “You were very close to God right then.” The taipan disputes it. But there he is settled in the moment feeling connected with the life around him, even if he doesn’t want to recognize it as being close to God.
Of course, then we have to get up and face the rest of the world with its challenges. And our challenge is carrying this space out into the world. There is the story of a Zen master shouting at his student, “God does not exist…” the man turns around to leave and the Zen master says quietly ,” but he is always with you.” It’s good to remember—its always there even when we’re not aware.