December 13, 2007

Clear Light

A lull. A tiny little bubble of a lull rises into my consciousness. Homework finished with thirty minutes left to sit here in the quiet gallery. Half finished thoughts penetrate, leftovers from a week of obsessive concentration, amputated mid stride to make room for the object on which all depends. That object is still undone, but the final details are beyond my grasp, if only for these next few minutes.

I remember the bicyclist I saw on Tuesday, with skis and ski poles strapped across his back, resolutely peddling frozen city streets. That was funny.

I wonder if my car will thaw by tomorrow morning. In yesterday’s battle between the scraper and the quarter inch sheet of ice for the freedom of my car, the ice won hands down. The scraper is in several small plastic pieces and the car hasn’t moved since Monday. Oh, how I laughed as each little piece of plastic went arcing away, at the absurdity of it all.

I recall Dickie is coming into town tonight, so soon. I hope his drive has been safe. He is coming to see our final project presentations (the object still undone) and is staying on my couch. He always visits at that time of year when I am precluded from being a good host. At least I washed the dishes yesterday while my computer was rendering an image. I hope my continuing work doesn’t keep him up tonight.

I massage my leg where I strained a muscle on Wednesday. I half fell while climbing my ice encrusted fire escape. The bruise on my shin doesn’t hurt nearly as bad as the strained muscle in my thigh which probably saved me from an even more bruising fall by catching all my weight and locking in place. I shall have to remember to take the inside stairs tonight.

I remember longingly the ghostly night trees left behind by the ice storm. Spider webs of black, woven and circling, cribbed ink lines caught in a shell of light. White light and gold, utilitarian streetlamps broken and refracted into the most glorious of stars, pure and potent. A million bits of black caught within a million white sparkles.

All these things and more surface in my mind, now deprived of the object of its relentless obsession. I find it interesting how my concentration on one thing has effected my perceptions over this past week. Each thing I remember now I remember experiencing with precision and clarity. It is as though the state of concentration once achieved is maintained even as the object of concentration is not. I look back now, during this quite moment, and think it has been a good week. Despite the hustle and the bustle, and the nagging suspicion I may not finish in time, my mind has been in a good place, focused and clear.

I realize the moments of past week, those thoughts and recollections, were not harshly cast aside, but simply let go. The clarity of experience comes from the refusal to analyze it to death, to overthink it and lay my own concepts upon it, to add it my storyline. Instead they were just moments, as they were by themselves. And they were and remain beautiful. It has been an inadvertant thing, surely not what the Buddha intended, but almost a kind of meditation in itself, my concentration. Yet, not without its own lesson, I think.

It reminds me of the lights in the night trees.

1 comment:

Chlirissa said...

Awesome post. I definitely get it... those times when you become so enraptured in what you are doing that you almost enter a kind of trance. It's what Csíkszentmihályi calls flow experience and I think of it as something roughly analogous to meditation in action. It's good to hear from you.