Lost to the Thicket
Space, light, and teakwood glistening.
Windows that overlook the sea.
A simple tea table on one end.
An odd, out of place, bar at the other.
There is room here. Little else.
Space and empty walls.
were you to break into an aria
the echo would reverberate long after you stopped.
You have never studied zen,
but you are aware of it.
Their places and peace resonate with you.
They are, you are sure, on to something.
Room. Room for the soul to expand,
Emptiness less a thing to fill,
than a thing to become
so that you may be filled.
There is a similar tradition in your own faith.
Ancient and Medieval mystics would recognize the path,
but it has been lost in the need to do,
to prove value by cacophony, programs and power,
peace but an afterthought.
A thing lost to the thicket,
the discipline of surrender as virtue
looked on with suspicion, until, always until
our private worlds collapse under the weight,
and we need more than anything,
to know who we are, and where we fit,
and that oh so elusive peace.
Some die in the noise. You have lived there,
voices, too many of them belonging to others,
disguised as love, or value or purpose,
become stones to carry, burdens, blind weights.
They were never your own, these weights,
never real, never yours to carry.
You were meant to fly, pure and true
spirit more than flesh, more powerful than flesh.
They were never yours to carry. And here,
in this silent space, you can release them,
with no one to cry foul or curse you
for finding the peace that scares them.
It takes room.
or the courage
to create one.
About this poem
I had trouble meditating this morning, which is unusual. Normally I lose myself to the flow of it almost immediately. That got me thinking about meditation in general.
Some Christian denomination teach that meditation is a bad thing, part of a false faith. I see it differently. Christianity as a religion (not as a spiritual discipline or faith) is a borrowed religion, that for twenty-some-odd centuries has borrowed things from other religion with a glee that would do an artist proud. And there is much in the Buddhist faiths worth living, without detracting one whit from the core of our Christian faith.
Why choose this one thing, meditation, to condemn as dangerous? I confess, I don’t get it. In my mind, anything that opens us up to spirit is good. God is waiting, but not in the noise.
The photograph was taken at the Tea House at “The Breakers”, one of the guilded age mansions in Newport, Rhode Island.
Despite my protestations in the poem, I actually have studied Zen, and most other major faiths.
Be well. Travel wisely,