Making melodies out of the humdrum.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Last night the wind blew late at night by the pool, and it was relief from the hot, still daytime air. I sat with my friend on a chair and drank a single Blue Moon. One for me, one for her--we only had two left in our fridge, and it's better to share favorite things. Sometimes, this particular friend calls me by my last name, "What do you think about that, Viviani?" There is a certain completeness to her questions when she ends them with my name like that. It makes me feel important like a storybook character or something, and I actually breathe before I get all chatty and grinning like usual. I've found I trust myself more when I'm this way, breathing rather than rushing, and I rather like it.

I attempted to explain how the past couple of months I've dwelt with the idea of unified thinking and presence. The richness of contemplation and the few people I've read who articulate it so well- Thomas Merton and Richard Rohr in particular have occupied my thoughts lately. Their work is all over my nightstands and their most poignant thoughts scratched on scrappy pieces of paper, sometimes making it into my journals. Their words are with me because I want them to guide me, but mostly, reading them just feels like eating bread. This morning, I read another anecdote of Merton's that summarized things just so-- and it seemed to fit and move and push things to greater completion. He wrote that a most insightful Zen monk once told him that the greatest lesson is how to "open and close doors." Open and close doors? I thought for a moment. My mind immediately went to some metaphoric interpretation. I swear, I could stand for some concreteness in my life. Doors. Is he talking about opportunities? Managing them? Losing them? Finding them again? I love that sort of spectacular game. It's quite opportunistic and not at all the kind of soil in which wisdom roots itself.

No, Merton was not talking about the doors of opportunity. After all, spirituality is hardly spectacular- it's mostly simple. He was literally referring to opening and closing doors. Not flitting about. Gently closing, gently opening. Looking and waiting--quite uninterested in finding. Remembering that perhaps patience is everything. Breathing, rather than rushing, and trusting that the night-breeze and the moon-rise come, even when the earth has been hot and still all day long.

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