You’re seeking the path of what?!

I was sitting in a bakery/coffee house in Jaffrey, N.H., but I felt like I was sitting outside of an catch-as-catch-can Ashram just outside of Iowa City….

It was the second day of my Reiki I class and instead of sitting alone, hoarding the only free wifi in town like I’d done the day before, I pulled up a seat with my classmates. And, instead of sticking with the women I had bonded with the day before, I found myself at a small table with the two men – to neither of whom, I had spoken a word.

Given that I’ve never been one for small talk (not to mention the 2:7 male-female ratio in the class), I jumped right in.

“So,” I say to the guy sitting across from me who I know is a Physician’s Assistant, but who is reluctant about telling anyone at work that he’s doing Reiki, “how did you get here?”

In retrospect, I see that that could be seen as a weird question. Maybe a better question would have been, “Why are you here?” or, better yet, “Why did you decide to enroll in a class that you’re too embarrassed about to tell your colleagues?”

Though perhaps, given his response, it wouldn’t have mattered: “I’m seeking the path of enlightenment.”

I swear, where’s your pocket McKenna when you need it?

I blinked.

“Excuse me?” I prompted gently.

He repeated his answer, very earnest. He’s a very earnest young man, I’ll give him that much.

I shook my head slightly and took a bite of what has to be one of the most micro-managed, yet lovingly assembled, chef salads in the planet. Not only did I ask for it without dressing, I also had them hold the cheese, the ham, the red onions, and the croutons and, if they didn’t mind, add extra spinach and turkey.

It was essentially romaine, spinach, a ton of turkey, and an avocado that I had picked at the grocery store that morning before class, a handful of raw cashews, and some fresh lemon. All things considered, it was amazingly satisfying. (Although this may seem like a digression, at that moment all I could do was study the content and quality of my salad.)

“I don’t mean to be harsh or anything,” I began. And the thing is, I didn’t. I really didn’t and I still don’t. “But what does that even mean?”

Our table-mate choked around his tuna melt and immediately goes for the cookie, suggesting that he, like most people I know, reach for sugar when the going gets tough.

It was his turn to blink. “I’m not really sure.”

I nodded encouragingly. “But you’ll know when you get there?”

He smiled as he bit into his dill spear. “Exactly.”

You know, I could have stopped there and maybe I should have. But I didn’t.

“But what does it mean? What are you actually doing in order to get there – other than this…” I waved my hand between the two tables… “of course.”

“Well, I eat healthy.” He hesitated. “I meditate a lot. I’m learning Reiki.”

I kept nodding, because at this point, I could have been talking to myself or at least half of my friends.

“Oh,” he added after a bit of thought. “I do a lot of yoga. I find that I get a lot out of yoga.”

I take a quick mental note of how I spend my days, these days: check, check, check, and, well, check.

Does that mean that I, too, am on a path of enlightenment or is simply that my daily activities resemble his quest for a spiritual plane that is currently more lofty than the one in which he currently finds himself?

Then I had a crazy thought: ‘What if that is the path and I just happen to have stumbled on it accidentally?’ Even as I speared a particularly luscious piece of avocado, I decided that that was ludicrous. But the question remained – well actually a couple of questions remained:

1) What is enlightenment?

2) Can we all have different paths?

And, perhaps, the most troubling:

3) Why is it that I am doing what I’m doing?

I don’t have answers for these questions. In fact, I’m not sure that I need answers to these questions. But even if I did (need answers, that is) they would be beyond the scope of any particular blog post.

So, instead of tackling that today, I’m going to dig out Mr. McKenna (and maybe even my tarot cards [I bet you think I’m kidding]) and give it some thought. Who knows, I might even meditate on it.

When I figure something out – or maybe even before then – you’ll be the first to know.

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1 comment so far

  1. Michael J. on

    The truth is that enlightenment is neither remote nor unattainable.
    It is closer than your skin and more immediate than your next breath.
    If we wonder why so few seem able to find that which can never be lost,
    we might recall the child who was looking in the light for a coin he dropped
    in the dark because “the light is better over here”.
    Jed McKenna


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