A short excerpt from My Buddhist Journal
The Screen Door
From time to time little things wake me up. This morning, I went to the Rooster Coffee House hoping to have a coffee and some time to write. When I arrived, they were open of course, but there was major street work going on outside and there was no place to park. If I had parked, it would have been uncomfortably noisy and dusty. So, long story short, I ended up having coffee at the Riverdale Perk, a little coffee shop at the corner of Logan and Withrow Avenues.
I ended up sitting in Withrow Park after coffee and enjoyed a waking moment. I was not actually meditating, but just sitting on the metal bleachers near the sports field. I was sitting backwards, facing west, with the early morning sun behind me. I was just resting in the moment and I heard a bang, from the houses south of me. Not a loud band, or a threatening bang or a bang that made me start – just a bang. It was probably a slamming screen door or something similar. (I recognized the sound from the cottage our family had on Rice Lake when I was just a wee fellow.) When I heard the bang I was looking at the tall chimney rising over the Bain Coop. But at that instant, I enjoyed a rare moment of total connectedness.
Yes, I’ve mentioned I have those feeling from time to time – more frequently of late, but most of those moments come during meditation – not all – but most. But this experience was not of connectedness as I’ve felt in the past, but something more interesting - everyone had Buddha nature.
You’ll recall from earlier this month, the flash I had at the Riverdale Farm, with the little child looking at the piglets and my glimpsing her Buddha nature. Well, that was for one child, this experience was for a host of others.
I mentioned I was looking at the tall chimney, when I heard the bang. I continued to look at the chimney for a bit, while I experienced this vast interconnectedness to everyone. My eyes drifted down to the treetops and across the park. I stood up and walked along the top of the bleachers to the north end until I was looking at the rink area – all the while feeling a connection to everyone in the park.
This may either be self-delusion or insight. Whatever. I felt special. Either could be an accurate diagnosis I guess. If insight, all is well. If self-delusion, then it is what it is.
I’m being harsh of course, self-delusion, in this case, is the fulfillment of training to see what I expect to see. Does that make any sense?
I just imagined trying to explain this to a shrink – “Well doctor, I thought I saw everyones Buddha nature the other day ...” Jeez, if that doesn’t sound like someone needs help, I don’t know what does. I also just imagined what it would be like talking to the gang at the meditation center. They’d think I was a nut.
Interesting to see how I almost immediately imbue this experience with other things, eh? It’s hard to undo decades of skepticism and identity formation.
Any way, to get back to the experience per se, it lasted for a bit and then I realized I was attracted to it. Once I started grasping for the feeling, it vanished and all that was left was a brown dog running around outside the hockey rink.