At 1:30pm, Matt, a tall thin man with wiry spectacles begins the session with the ringing of a soft gong. The hour long meditation progresses in 4 steps. The first is a call to relax. After some time, a gong sounds and we are called to focus attention to our breath as it moves in and out of our nostrils. Gong. A call to imagine a wonderful meal in all its progression, every little detail and sensation accounted for. Gong. A call to, again, use our imagination in detailed imagery of our selves approaching a deity, a god, a supreme being, and to ask a question. I follow this in earnest.
I see myself hiking a mountain. My mind goes through several renditions of this supreme being. A goddess with many arms in Hindu imagery, a focus of blinding light, Jesus. When I reach the summit, I begin approaching … my Self. She looks like me, but it she is supreme. She is seated cross-legged and serene. I approach her from the side. Comfortable in the space of this supremeness. She turns her head towards me just slightly and acknowledges my presence with warmth and a smile, as if she were waiting for me. I admire her for a second in all her equanimity and ask, “What is it all? What is this space of divinity that binds and separates all religions, philosophy, and teaching?” She smiles more and I sit next to her. She puts her arm around me and brings me close, saying, “This is it.”
I look into the horizon to see what she is seeing and ask, “Meditating on a mountain top?” I nestle into the crook of her arm and, as we sit there together, on the summit of this raw mountain, the wind blustering around us, blowing our hair wild and whispering secrets, the scene before begins to shift and morph, the sky is not the sky but times past and future. It is the universe with purples and stars and the milky way lit in its dusty affect. It shifts and changes at every second. It is time, it is matter, it is all of this all at once and as impossible as it is, it makes sense and presents. I see it. Somehow I experience the impossible. I recognize the changing patterns of eternity before us. And the two of us sit there, unchanging, watching, witnessing, this beauty before us. Tears come to my eyes. And the gong sounds.
“Holy Shit!” I think, as I blink my eyes open, “What the hell was that?”
And so, it begins.