I have begun to think that blogging is my middle road to enlightenment. In August, I will have been hiking this path for six years. That is about the time it took my good friend Siddhartha to flick the switch on his enlightenment. So I imagine mine is just about to shine as well. That is, if I don't get distracted by some bright and shiny object along the way. After all, I do like my digressions.
I find it interesting that we always associate light with spiritual awakening. Yet we shut our eyes when we meditate. Personally, I do my best thinking in the dark. For the past three years I've had plenty of time at night to think while I sit in the rocking chair in my daughter's room waiting for her to fall asleep. It is a very peaceful time as I listen to the same lullaby CD over and over and watch the colors of the night light fade in and out. The white noise of a fan we keep on to help lull our dear one to sleep adds to the reflective atmosphere.
Sitting there is a rare opportunity to be still. But even as my body sits still, my mind races. It is so much harder to still the brain than it is the body. Thoughts shriek at the speed of light (there's the light again), refiring synapses of long forgotten memories and moments and trying to piece together meaning out of the fragments of my life.
I suppose the fragments are the meaning. I think that is what the Buddha was saying. Buddhism doesn't have a creation story or an afterlife. They aren't relevant to the now. I suppose that makes sense. If you always live in the past or live for the future, you are going to miss what is happening right now. And that is a great loss. You can never regain the now.
I am beginning to sound like a fortune cookie, which I posit was the inspiration for Twitter. Both impose a limit on imparting wisdom in 140 characters or less. Not that there is much wisdom imparted by Twitter.
There I go digressing again.
This entire discussion has made me think of the lyrics to a Beatles song: "I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in, and stops my mind from wandering. Where it will go. Where it will go." It is okay for the mind to wander as long as it eventually finds its way home.
Do you suppose that is what Siddhartha's mind was doing while he sat under the tree pondering enlightenment? Was it wandering through the invisible ties that connect everyone and everything? It is said that he was able to uncover every memory of every life he had ever lived. Did he tap into the time space continuum and surf the fourth dimension?
I think of that fourth dimension when I run on the treadmill. I think about folding time in half and then quarters. I force myself not to look at the timer. Because the minute I look at a clock, time unfolds and becomes heavy again. And then the heaviness seeps into my feet and the workout becomes a burden again.
Once again the treadmill becomes my symbol for trying to understand something that perhaps can't be understood. Or more accurately, can't be put into words. A treadmill to me is the sound of one foot running. It is so unlike running outside. Oddly enough I prefer it to running outside. I find it more difficult to fold time outdoors because there are so many distractions...traffic lights, dogs barking, traffic, rain, hills, puddles...third dimensional things. The treadmill is a constant, middle of the road running of the mind.
Oh well, enough sitting under the tree for now. Perhaps if I keep this up I'll have achieved enlightenment by my six year blog anniversary.
But then what will I do?