Week 15 – Plane #1

Little Dharma and the Monkey Mind

I lie down to meditate and draw deep breaths.

Relaxing, ever deeper, I fight the monkey mind to a draw –

We come to an agreement: The monkey mind will quiet down for five minutes, and take over for the rest of the day.

And so I contemplate the silence…

The big, bold, beautiful silence.

As I step into another plane –

A plane of colors (purple and blue), of sound (my breath), of smells (coffee and fresh-cut grass)

Yes, I get my major five – five sweet minutes of silence and no thought.

When the monkey mind barges in like a rampaging bull in my silent shop.

I’ve accepted this, and lie, sweeping shards of thoughts aside,

Until the practice is over.

Despite the little imp of thought, this was a success, and I can’t wait until next time.

Week 14 – Brush #2

Battle Rattle

Armed with a paintbrush, I fire a bloody stream across the blank page.

Explosions of blue and black burst from my mind, regurgitating technicolor splotches on the snowy canvas.

In the war of art, there is no loser…

Except for the bystander whose attention stands facing the opposite direction.

Week 14 – Brush #1

The Wonder of Wander

In a daze, I wandered.

Sometimes you’re the fly, and sometimes you’re the windshield.

I definitely felt like the windshield.

As I walked, my mind collapsed and expanded.

I had no idea what I was seeing or not seeing,

Thinking or not thinking.

I never saw the bee that flung itself into my thigh,

But I felt the burning pain of bee fire.

It made me feel human, though.

It made me feel.

I was reminded of that day back in ’77, when I was at temple.

The yogi smiled at me as he touched my wrist with a glowing rod.

I traced the scar without thinking.

I realized that smiles are not always sinister,

And frowns aren’t always about you.

I brushed aside the tree limb that wanted so desperately to smack me in the head,

And I realized…

It just didn’t matter.

Week 13 – Head #2

Meet Me at the Corner of Now and Not Now

There was nothing in the noggin…

A few minutes after I awoke, I was in the perfect zen state – no thought, no breath, no life, no nothing… (nothing)

Bewildered, I was pre-thinking, post-dreaming,

And in a moment, it all disappeared.

I started thinking.

I tried remembering my dreams.

I tried to think about the day ahead.

I tried to think.

It was that moment that destroyed my morning zen, and I never realized it.

The empty brain was fleeting.

The floating head was grounded.

There will be no nirvana with my coffee.

Nothing but the pain push-pull of my gray matter waging battle against itself.

All. Day. Long.

But I had hope – a slim hope, but one nonetheless –

There would be a chance for the same moment tomorrow…

I only hope I don’t recognize it!

Week 13 – Head #1

Dark Visions

Daylight broke over the horizon.

I laid in bed, staring at the ceiling, the visions had come back.

When I was a child, there was a big slide at the local playground.

Scrambling up the steps, I somehow lost my balance, and fell on my head.

Concussed, but too young to know it, I remember crying and screaming at the visions that besieged me that night.

No one could have known that the next day, and year, and decade after that, I still had the visions.

When I got to college, I experimented with hallucinogenics.

That first trip, I came face to face with the visions.

I walked through the portal, and defeated each and every demon from that slide accident.

The visions stopped, but my drug use didn’t.

On the cusp of 2017, facing the realities of my stoner life, I decided to give up drugs and become a fully functioning member of society.

I was successful for two weeks.

But there I was, lying in bed…

The visions returned.

Week 12 – Art #2

The Studio

There was a hush over the crowd –

A cliche hung thick in the air.

It was like a professional athlete playing one game at a time

But better.

As I read these words, I found myself intrigued. The marketing folks sure knew what they were doing to entice the crowd they needed!

Formed in the late 1700s by a woman later hanged for witchcraft, the local art studio was having their annual fundraiser. This years’ artists were really pushing the envelope – trying to remind the public what benefit they provided the community.

I marked the date on my calendar. I wanted to see a cliche hanging thick in the air!

And I wanted to support the arts.

And all I could do was be patient, and bide my time, because it is what it is, and it’s all water under the bridge.

Week 12 – Art #1

The Romantic Artist

The romantic notion of carefully crafting a painting, a sculpture, a song, a poem from the ether to the page has always been my vision of the perfect piece of art.

It’s not an easy task – no, it’s fraught with struggle, emotion, pain, and desire. Art is a reward for those who toil – it’s like watching a magician practice the same trick over and over, finally having it pay off by perfect execution.

It’s like an athlete who performs and trains day after day – practicing perfectly in order to execute perfectly.

But it’s not like that at all. The romantic notion of an artist sees the artist practice his whole life for one brief moment – one brief vision – of God. And then it’s gone.

Kaput.

Vanished.

And the torment of my romantic artist is that the artist will chase the desire to re-live that moment just one more time in their life. And then they are hooked – the ultimate hit of crack that sends the artist spiraling.

Chasing the dream.

Now, I hope this is not the case. I wish every artist could find that hole in the sky and see heaven on a daily basis.

That there is no torment. No angst.

That there is success upon success.

But the the chase is always better than the catch, they say…

And in romance, there is pain.

Week 11 – Light #2

Preparing to Be

When I was a little boy, I had a dream that I was locked up in jail.

I was sorely disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to accomplish all the things I was supposed to accomplish in my lifetime.

I look back on that dream often, wondering if I was successful in doing those things.

Deep inside, I think not, and I strive to do better.

But what was I meant to do? What do I want to do?

Squandering time to consider these things?

Or am I preparing a better roadmap?

While I wait for the future to shine the light of perspective upon my dilemma,

I’ll try to be patient.

I’ll try to prepare.

I’ll try to be ready.

To be my own light, and the light to others.

Week 11 – Light #1

Deep the Well

She smiled at me from afar. My heart melted and I couldn’t help but smile back.

My insides turned to Jell-o. My fingers began to tingle.

I thought back to when we first met – it was a cool, rainy day.

We were younger and life was less complicated. The biggest dilemma we had to overcome was the one inside of each of us.

There was no Romeo and Juliet drama. There was no flash in the pan passion. There was just us. And Rain. And cold.

We first kissed outside the deli. There was a burst of light. There were fireworks.

Here and now, I walked faster towards her.

We embrace. We kiss. There is a burst of light. There are fireworks. We are together again, and I never want to let her go.