Posts Tagged ‘Temple’

Detour to Dormancy

The Vice Principle let me go 20 minutes early yesterday. Despite the stifling heat, my ride home was euphoric. I felt like I had all the time in the world. While waiting to cross the dicey 5.5-way intersection (that always unapologetically interrupts my commute) I made the impulsive decision to pay a visit to the little temple perched just on the hill overlooking the traffic cluster. I had been up there once earlier in the year but decided the current sweltering temps would add a more authentic feel; something like what a true yogi would experience in the most brutal regions of India.

I parked my bike just off the sidewalk and headed up the small trail that winds its way through the woods. Upon approaching the temple complex, I found everything to be rather quiet. Just what I anticipated, just what I was looking for. I swung a wide arc around the small gate that confined the vocal dog whom I had encountered previously. A statue here, some trickling water there. A mum glass cabinet with a series of burning candles. A few flights of disproportional stairs  and I was finally at the daeungjeon or main shrine.

I found the door to be open but with a slender-weathered bamboo rod propped at a 45° baring entrance. I  took it as message: “Hey we are closed at the moment but who are we to stop you from seeking some solitude and respite.” I considered how many times I had been reprimanded by monks (never) for “trespassing” (plenty). Off came the shades and shoes and away went the phone.

Once inside the relatively cool room, I grabbed a floor cushion, and found a corner to post up in. I took a few calming breaths and considered my situational purpose. Was I looking for Buddha? Nah. Christ? Nah. Zeus? Nah. I decided I was just there looking for myself. True, I hoped for a defining life moment where the painted rafters opened to a somehow night sky where the path of my life was outlined in dragonflies and shooting stars. Even a firm calm voice singing through the afternoon heat, affirming my life choices or telling me to pack up and move on. No matter how quietly I sat neither would happen. I had heard mantras were important when it comes to meditation. I decided to focus on the color green. Soon my minds eye began to turn the pages of a kindergartners educational book on colors. Leafy trees, swaying grass, kale, The Hulk.

Soon I could think of nothing more than how heavy and wet my shirt felt as it clung to my back.

Feeling defeated but not ready to quit, I looked around the room. Naturally my eyes settled on the illuminated golden Buddha in the center of the room. I stared intently at the statues inert face. Maybe if I looked long enough, I would learn the secrets of the universe. It wasn’t long before I was following a group of flies lofting lazily about the room. I considered what it was that brought them there. Was there a deity they pursued or were they just looking to escape the heat? Finally I was just too antsy to go on with it.

I put my shoes back on and decided “finding myself” may have to wait for another day. As I put the old bamboo stick back in its resting position across the door, I considered what it would take for me to purse a life (or at least extended period) of quite purposeful living?

It wouldn’t take much but Id sure have to learn how to calm my mind for more than 12 minutes. Then again I suppose that’s the point.