The Last Meditation

Don’t you want to know why it didn’t happen, sitting in your car at a four-way stop, your turn? You drive to the town square. It’s empty at 5 pm. You stand there looking at the benches and the gazebo, remembering when the square was full of noise and bands and kids chasing each other. You know those benches. They’re like the one in your mind, where you have been sitting for ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty years, poised for the next meditative dive into the promise that has kept your heart pumping, beat after beat, living off the knowledge, the deep stirrings, the friendships with those who also know what you know and the how but who are still there with the same unfulfilled eyes. You look around. You don’t see them but you know they are all there on those benches. Saving room for the young ones, especially those who are being writhed into existence as you think.

Don’t you want to know why it didn’t happen? Feeling that stirring in your loins again, kids laughing in front of the store across the way? Still there. Was it that? Should I have headed to the forest or to the ashram to stave off the dark desire? All around you and the empty square, hundreds are doing the deed in locked rooms as your mind torques on the question. Yes, impossible without tying yourself to the mast as your ship is being tossed about in the raging sea. And even then, the mast always breaks.

Never mind. You close your eyes. Habit as much as anything. After ten thousand dives, it’s never been easier. Maybe after this one, you will push everything behind you and go backslapping with Zen monks in exotic marketplaces, or head into the mountains to exclaim the glory of your enlightenment to the gods, dance with Shiva among the stars, take target practice with Arjuna in the deep forest as the brothers look on with glee. Maybe.

Your mind goes quiet, and the silence rolls in, peaks of emptiness, troughs of illusions, gods, witches and goblins, the lineages of masters, rutting teens on their way to sameness and death, and the waves of love, your love, pulsing through your heart as you lie helpless on the shores of the unknown with the ancient buddhas. Why don’t they speak? Why? Why? I want to know! Return to the bench? Never! I would rather die than return to the bench! Lie here forever! Aching forever!

Or just step off . . .