I can no longer read the Teachings
or visit those awakened on the path
who sit amidst flowers and incense
and eager seekers waiting for morsels
of Enlightenment food.
I can no longer sit on my black cushion
waiting for the moment to appear
when the big bang will occur
and blow this world of work and life
into the heavens of bliss.
I can no longer search for what is missing
nor can I say that I have found it.
I listen to the furnace blowing at dawn
and watch a feather dance before its music.
I work and eat and sleep and simply live my life.
I no longer wonder if I should dye my hair
or give up eating meat
or lose ten pounds before summer.
If I do, I do, and if I don't, I don't,
and who is there to care?
The sound of the garbage truck
chewing up the remains of my week
offers just as much stimulation to my soul
as a church bell or the song bird's melody
lilting from the distant hill.
My candles of devotion sit unlit
upon the alter to the gods,
the bell of mindfulness unrung
upon its hand-sewn cushion,
the incense resting in a drawer.
What has become of the one
who searched and chanted and read and prayed
and hoped for enlightenment?
She still laughs with her family,
sips champagne with friends, and sings in the shower.
What is life when the seeking ends?
Just what it is, nothing more or less -
an ordinary person doing ordinary things,
not wishing to be more or less,
content to simply be herself.
Photo: Peter Bowers