25 March 2014
The race of humanity is a jostling, mad mess. The end goal is in sight, the track is laid, and with every step we vie for position, attention, or watch to avoid getting our feet stepped on, miss getting elbowed, sidestep someone who would trample us to get ahead. In the process, we often end up doing the same thing to others; not intentionally, perhaps not even perceptibly—to us. That's the name of the game. The fit survive; and we don't ask who defined this term, "fit," for we're too busy sidestepping, dodging, jostling, shoving, trying to survive in the close, claustrophobic clamor. It's deafening. Blinding. Frightening at times. Exhausting.
That's not the race for me. Try as I might, I was not made for it. I am not that definition of "fit." I don't know who defined it that way. Only that I am not it.
But someday I will spot my place. A quiet corner with a grand view. Such places are hard to find. But when I do...
I will abandon the frenetic procession, drop off to the side of the busy highway. Of old times, the tribal ancients did the same — retreating from the track to die alone, while their people continued on. Like them I will sense my time is come and stumble — crawl — out of the race. And the race will go on without me.
But I will not die as did the ancients.
I will crawl to my corner and lean against a spreading tree, enervated. I will listen to the sound of water running near, will feel the coolness of its droplets in the air. At some point I will revive enough to sit; I will curl up and close my eyes to the frenzied race before me.
I will simply sit. For a small, uninterrupted time. And as I sit I will remember how to really breathe. I will breathe not sweat and dust and bodies, money-hunger and power-thirst and starvation for the limelight, but sunshine, green and water. I will breathe them deeply, and my muscles will loosen, my posture slowly uncurl. I will find that stillness within that is my being. My knowledge of life, its purpose, and what really matters will be remembered, and I will be content. And when I find that, I will think myself complete.
Then I will open my eyes and see the grand view ahead. I will see the great race a small, winding thread in a larger, gorgeous panorama I was blind to until now. I will drink in the sight. And I will lean further into the tree and find that familiarity without that is a Connection with that view. My knowledge of the world, its real purpose and what really matters will be remembered, and I will have peace. And when I find that, I will think myself complete.
I will sit in my quiet, wonderful corner and take in the beauty before me. I will solve the problems of the world as they present themselves, for my view is grand and my corner lends itself to pondering and the inspiration that comes with stillness. Sun patches will dance through the leaves above me; the water flowing over pebbles and stones will soothe my senses. And I will find that Nothing — that stillness that comes from solitude and quiet — is what I really needed to fill a hole inside. I thought the cure was at the end of the race.
When I am still enough I will notice again the busy highway. The great race of humanity. I will see the ceaseless crowds as they teem and jostle and push for place. I will see the strain in their muscles, the thinness of their smiles and the desperate emotion in their eyes. I will see it all. I will see You. Because I can now. Now that I have left the pack.
You will pass my corner. Perhaps we will make eye contact. Perhaps we will not. I will not interrupt. You are occupied. It is a mad race; the fit survive; the more fit thrive. And that is the goal; not only to run the race, but to run as beautifully as You can. We don't know who defined that term we know as beautiful. We only know everyone else expects a certain type. And to run in "beauty" — how much concentration that takes. You, like each one around You, are zoned in on that marker.
But my corner, too, is beautiful. Beautiful because someone else did not define it for me. So I will not interrupt. But if You wish, I will invite.
If You happen to glance aside for a moment, I will smile at You. I will not wave or beckon; You are occupied, and I do not wish to impose. It is a dangerous race. Only the fittest, the most coordinated, keep their place.
But I will smile. If You are occupied, You will see the smile as a good-luck wish. If You are tired, You will see it as a cheer of encouragement. If You are willing, You will see it as an invitation.
An invitation to come to my quiet corner and catch your breath. And see the view.
Perhaps You will not have time; the race is to the swift, it seems, everyone hurrying toward that end goal. No one can get there first. But if one can get there before the others around him....
Hopefully the invitation in my smile will give You some little hope of what is to come at the end. If it is the race You choose, I wish you well. You have your own place to find. My smile wishes some peace toward You as You continue.
But perhaps You will come. You too will drop out because You really can go no farther. Your muscles burn and tremble; your breath racks in your chest. And You're beyond caring if they step on You.
Come, sit. The tree is cool, the sun is warm. There is sweet water and quiet here. The race is to the strong, too, and right now You are weak. Come, recover. No one can get to the end first. You will be on your way again soon enough.
You will come, stumble — crawl — to my place. And I will shift to give You room to sit. I will fetch You water, and the sunny breeze whispering through the leaves above will cool You down.
You will curl up against the tree, sweat and maybe tears wetting your face as your body begins to remember what it is like to really breathe. Just for the sake of breathing. There are no interruptions here, no sense of hurry. Your breathing will begin to find its true rhythm again. Your muscles will loosen, your features soften with being and contentment. And You too will, at some point, look out, and see the grand view that comes with stillness.
In this process I will be here to give You whatever help you need. Because I am content; and I wish the same for You.
If You need to talk, I will listen. If You prefer to think, I will not interrupt. If You need reassurance, my hand will rest on your shoulder. If You crave affection, I will embrace You warmly. If You seek advice, I will first listen and ask questions and try to understand. If You express interest, I will share with You small moments of peace and quiet experiences that get at the heart of truth for me; and when You begin to remember your own, I will listen as you speak.
I will watch as those moments of truth fill You. And I will smile. Because somehow I will be more full than I thought possible.
Come, sit with me. Drink the water, and listen to it. See the sun filtering through the leaves, and feel it. Find rest and peace. Think and reorganize. Feel and rejuvenate. Be. And see the view before us. Connect with that Presence that lives in the core, in the view...even in the race, though so many are too busy to acknowledge it. Like we once were.
The lines will fade from your face. Your muscles will cease to tremble. And You will smile again too. The corner is so quiet, the view so beautiful.
When You are ready to return to the race, You will know it. You will leave my corner, your muscles tuned for action again. I will smile at You and wave as you bound back. There will be new energy in your step. And ease. The ease of knowing how the race stands in the grand view.
We will not meet again; it's a one-way highway. And that race is not mine. But we have helped each other. And, somehow, that brings the same peace as does the View itself.