It’s been weeks since I’ve seen a sunrise. Months since I’ve had breakfast. I’ve deeply missed seeing the dawning sun; but, eating breakfast? Less so.
These COVID19-induced changes have ushered in a bevy of possibilities for when I awake. Which happens, most often, in darkness. Typically between 5-5:30 a.m. Long before I tackle the day’s list of tasks, laundry, sweeping, answering emails, calling my dad. It’s a precious time: the phone remains untouched, I switch on a low light in the living room (I might brew a cup of mint tea), and then I meet the mat.
What to do: Headstand – or alternate nostril breathing? Shoulder stand and plough pose – or meditation? Maybe my body really needs an hour’s worth of savasana (corpse pose)?
This morning, hovering above the mat just before 6, I got the call. The Buddha said: SIT. I settled onto a bolster just inches away from its wooden figure; it was in repose, eyes closed, hands in mudras. Reminding myself to straighten my back, relax my shoulders, and lay the palm of my each hand, gently, on either knee, it took me more than a few moments to reach stillness.
All the while, still feeling fidgety, I kept looking at the Buddha’s face. With just a hint of an upturned smile, the Buddha was waiting for me, seemingly transmitting a constant flow of familiar messages: I’m here whenever you’re ready. Just to be with you. To reflect back to you. To hold this space for, and with, you. You don’t have to DO anything. You already know that I’m not here to save you – that, you can do for yourself. You know that I’m not here so that you pray TO me; you already know that your prayers fold inwards, into yourself, for yourself, towards yourself. So whenever you’re ready, join me. Be with me. Because I am only here to remind you of your essence; and of your connection to all that which is beyond your mind’s perception. Beyond your control. I’m here as a reminder: Be still. Be gentle with yourself. You don’t have to BE anyone or anything or anywhere else.
So yeah, I’m not hungering for breakfast these days. The Buddha is serving up all I need.
Apropos: Happy Vesak Day, friends and pilgrims. Namaste.