90 Seconds

90 Seconds 

Emotions flash through the mind in a moment; however it takes the body a little longer to process them. It doesn’t take as long as you might think. According to the research by Jill Bolte Taylor (author of My Stroke of Insight), the chemical reaction that occurs in the body as a result of an emotion takes only 90 seconds to disperse.  That is, of course, if you don’t think about the emotion, and in the process unwittingly tell the brain to continue releasing all those chemicals.

 

Now, 90 seconds can feel like a long time. When you’re waiting for your computer to boot up, or for the stoplight to change, or when you’ve been enveloped by anger, just 90 seconds can feel like an eternity. However, with 86,400 seconds in a day, 90 seconds is a very small fraction of time. 

In those moments of unpleasant emotion, we can learn to sit with our bodies and wait for the chemical reaction to calm. Every time we notice any emotion, it is an opportunity to be mindful of the moment. We can be present with whatever emotion and thoughts arise, and without engaging our thoughts, we can watch both the emotion and the thoughts disperse. We can feel what that emotion is like in our body. When anger fills us, we can feel the heart race, the fists clench, and the jaw tighten. As we wait for the 90 seconds to pass, we can notice the heart slowing, the hands loosening, and the jaw relaxing.

 

To stay with the moment takes practice. This practice begins with simply noticing what is happening. If you immediately engage and watch your mind spin out, then you are practicing. As you pay attention to how it feels, you will learn what it costs to engage, to indulge in anger, sorrow, and other lower mind states. After watching enough times, you’ll be inspired to try something different. Just as we learn to not touch a hot stove because we burned our hand, we learn not to engage the thoughts that lead us to suffering. 

If we find ourselves recoiling from the experience, we can give ourselves cues to remind ourselves to stay present. We can teach ourselves to concentrate on our watch, and pay attention to the second hand ticking along, each time we notice an emotion. Or we can use a mantra, like OM (aum), or notice the beauty around us, or concentrate on gratitude, to hold the focus of our mind while we wait for the body to do its thing. Once we’ve been through it a few times, then we’ll have more confidence and be able to stay fully present longer with all that we experience.

 

So try it today: Simply wait and watch. After all, it’s only 90 seconds!

 

~ Jenna Sundell

Psychic Sensitivity and Inaccessibility

Through the practice of meditation, our awareness expands. We begin to notice new sensations and feelings and even objects. These things were always there; they just weren’t on our radar. At first, this newfound psychic sensitivity can be exciting and wondrous. When we walk into a room, we immediately know how our friend is feeling, even before she turns around. Sometimes we know who is calling on the phone without peeking at the caller-id. We not only watch the sun set, we feel the blaze of color wash through our being. As our awareness continues to expand we feel powerful and revel in our newly found psychic abilities.

 

Then our awareness keeps expanding. We walk into the grocery store and feel crushed by the impressions left by all the other shoppers. We arrive home and drown in our neighbor’s sorrow without even saying hello. We pick up our laundry and feel the weight of the past week’s struggles. The novelty of feeling the unseen quickly wears thin.

 

Some people will stop meditating, but find this intense awareness lingers. Awareness is a bell that cannot be un-rung. We know what’s out there and inside our being. We feel the suffering and we remember the bliss we felt in the silence of meditation. Abandoning the practice becomes akin to abandoning ourselves. So eventually, we begin to meditate once again.

 

At this point, we’ve closed our heart out of fear. We shield ourselves from the anguish and dive into meditation. It works for a while. As long as we meditate, we feel the boundless joy. Once we rise from our meditation cushion to interact with the world, we feel the pain and we hunker down, with an iron door over our heart, closed off and separate. In this pattern, there is no moving forward. There is only maintaining what little peace we can squeeze out during meditation. We pray the memories of our morning meditation will sustain us until we can return to the safety of our quiet little cave.

 

To move forward, we must open our heart.

 

We can take tiny baby steps, learning control and inaccessibility. We can live openly, overflowing with joy and peace.

 

We begin by first placing our awareness on our subtle body. This is the area of energy surrounding our physical body that senses the unseen world. We can control this part of our being, just as we can control our hand. With our mind, we visualize this area and pull it close to our physical body so it rests within an arm’s length. We practice walking around with our subtle body tucked in tightly, noticing how it feels when it bounces off of other people and places and things. We continue to practice holding the subtle body tight to the physical until we do this without thinking about it.

 

Before each meditation we clear the lines that have become attached to our subtle body. We imagine a pair of scissors, or a knife, or a sword, or other cutting device and simply lop them off like trimming a loose thread. We don’t worry about the other end of the line. We just let the line connected to us fall away. Over time, we may notice when one of these lines first attaches. If we do feel one become attached, then we simply cut it and let it fall away. We don’t worry about where it came from or why it’s there. We just take care of the part that’s connected to our subtle body by clipping it and letting it drop away. We continue to practice this until we do it without thinking about it.

 

With this level of control we begin to notice that we feel the suffering of the world only when we are in proximity to it. When we are out walking on the beach or through the park, we don’t feel it. We are once again enjoying the beautiful sensations of the unseen world. We discover we can find refuge whenever we need it in any place where we can be alone.

 

When we’re ready to move forward again, we open the heart wide and practice inaccessibility. Inaccessibility has nothing to do with secrecy or hiding who we are. Anyone can ask us anything, and we can answer however much or little we want. We are not hung up on ourselves. There is no one to fight and no one to impress. Being inaccessible means to stand and walk completely open and aware of all that is, without pushing out any personal agenda.

 

When we feel uncomfortable, we look first at what we are pushing out. What is it that we feel is wrong? What is not going in the direction we think it should be? What are we trying to control? By asking these questions of our Self, we discover the attachment that is causing us to be accessible to suffering.

 

Once we know what personal agenda we are pushing out into the world, we can decide to let go of it. We can let it fall away, just like the lines that get tangled in our subtle body.

 

Or we can separate from the agenda and still present it to the world. Sometimes we are moved to act for a cause or to take up a project. We can do this and remain inaccessible. The agenda we push is not a representation of our Self; it is no longer personal. It is simply the play of God. If someone praises it, then we enjoy the praise, knowing it has nothing to do with us. If someone bashes it, then we watch the bashing carefully and look for weaknesses in our agenda, knowing it has nothing to do with us.

 

We share the message or complete the project with excitement for the sake of the project, not with excitement about our own ego. We know we are whole and complete in and of ourselves. The agenda we carry in this way is joyful and fun, no matter what happens. We are so wide open that we become All and there is no one to access; thus we are inaccessible.

We meditate, letting go into the silent stillness of bliss. We participate in the world, open and aware, letting go of all attachments as they reveal themselves. We live with psychic sensitivity through inaccessibility. The iron wall melts, the knots untie, and the heart opens. Bliss and peace radiate to all.

 

  ~jenna sundell   7/17/12

Relationships & the Path

Relationships are the toughest part of the Path.

When we are alone, dealing only with our own thoughts and hang-ups, it’s very simple to feel Eternity. We simply sit and dissolve into meditation, into Light. We let go completely. (Notice I said simple, not easy.)

When we add a relationship into our practice, whether it’s friends or something more intimate like a mate, it complicates things. Suddenly, in the middle of feeling absolutely as One with Eternity, there is this other person, smiling at us, wanting to spend time with us, showing us there is Two.

Casual friends understand when it’s time for us to meditate; it’s easy for us to close our eyes to them, and the friends disappear. We know if they are truly our friends, they will understand.

But how do we do it when we have connected with an intimate partner? Is it that simple, to close our eyes?

Yes and No. (Typical Buddhist answer, sorry.)

The practice of seated, silent meditation is the foundation for all other aspects of practice. So yes, we must give time for ourselves to dissolve into the Light, alone and united with all that is.

In our movement on earth as humans, we use the relationship with our partner as an opportunity to experience Love manifest. We look into our partner, and see the One, the Beloved. With practice, we can extend this to everyone we meet. But in the beginning, we start with just one other person.

With true love, not the conditional crap of: do this for me and I’ll give you affection, but real love, there is total respect and trust. Respect for oneself and respect for the Beloved. Trust that we know our own path, and our Beloved knows his or her path. We know sometimes those paths will be together, and sometimes not, and that love rules all action no matter what.

Is it easy to find someone with whom you can experience that level of total trust and respect and love? In this world, it is a challenge because of the deep mistrust and suffering, and because having that type of relationship requires getting over yourself while at the same time taking care of your own needs, supporting your beloved in his or her goals, and caring for the relationship you two create. Do such relationships exist? YES! Is it a ton of work? YES! Is it worth it? YES!

Your ideal partner may or may not meditate. He/She may or may not be interested in talking about spirituality. Sometimes it’s easier to be with someone who is not doing the same practice. Sometimes it’s more fun to be with someone who is.

In other words, don’t block yourself from interacting with someone just because they don’t meditate and are not interested in talking about spiritual development.

All that’s important is if they support your practice.

And if your practice is truly important to you – that is, you meditate and practice mindfulness no matter what – then you won’t be around someone who doesn’t support it for very long. There simply won’t be room in your life for someone who impedes your practice.

Relationships, while challenging, provide us with a tremendous opportunity for growth. Not everyone needs or wants an intimate relationship. That type of relationship is not necessary. But having at least one other person with whom you feel completely comfortable helps you see where you really are on the Path. After all, it’s those we love the most who we often treat the worst – because we have taken down the barriers and the masks we use to face the world. When we face Eternity, ready to dissolve into Enlightenment, there will be no masks, no barriers. So having someone to call our Beloved prepares us for that Eternal Moment.

~Jenna Sundell

Opposition is Opportunity

When we meet Opposition on our path, we have reached a Decision Point. Opposition is an opportunity to ask:

~Do I have doubts about what I’m doing right now? Are my doubts valid?
With the issue of doubt resolved, we move forward through opposition with renewed conviction and excitement.

~Am I approaching this project correctly?
Opposition can be an indicator that we have missed something. Perhaps there is a typo of the resume we’re having trouble sending. We may hit traffic when we need an attitude adjustment before we reach our destination.

~Is there a better opportunity for me than the one on this road?
When we are so focused on traveling on the path in front of us, opposition can help us see what other doors are open to us.

By recognizing opposition as an opportunity, the roadblocks that once frustrated us can serve us. These bumps in the road can remind us to not only watch where we going, but also make sure we’re heading where we really want to go.

~Jenna Sundell

Strange and Powerful Dreams

11/10/2011

For the past two nights, I’ve had strange and powerful dreams. Most of the time when I sleep, I dream simple, silly dreams. Sometimes I see my meditation students in the dream plane, and we sit together or go on interesting journeys. Once in a while I get to see Rama, my beloved Teacher, in a dream and I always wake up incredibly happy and high. These past two mornings I’ve woken in a similar state of bliss, but I didn’t see Rama.

The night before last, I became conscious in a dream where I was in a windowless room with a small group of people. A person dressed all in black holding a gun was holding us hostage. The person – man or woman I could not tell – asked in a desperate voice what fun or amazing things we had done. This person was looking for a reason to live and let us live. No one spoke; all eyes looked to the floor. Breaking the silence, I said, “I’m a Buddhist monk, and that has been a fun and amazing adventure.” The others stared in disbelief. The gun-toting person covered in black clothing sat down next to me. We talked about Buddhism and the spiritual life for a long time. I woke feeling happy and peaceful.

Early this morning, after sunrise, I drifted back to sleep. I was walking down a long hallway that reminded me of a school. A man was walking in the opposite direction, towards me, but on the other side of the hallway. As we drew closer, we seemed to recognize each other. He moved over so our paths would cross. He asked if I was doing all right and if I needed anything. I recognized him as Adi Da, whom I had never met before. I wanted the interaction to continue, so I held up my watch. I told him sometimes I get confused about time, and asked him if the watch read 11:30. I could clearly see the time, and he knew I was just asking him so we could have an interaction. He nodded and we both laughed. Then he looked me in the eyes and said, “Ten more years.” We parted, he going his direction down the hallway, and me going mine. I woke once again in an extremely high and happy state.

There is a power in these dreams; I can feel it even now. The one with Adi Da seems the strangest to me. I have never met him; I recognized his face from the few pictures I’ve seen. I know his name only because some Rama students went to study with him after Rama died. I’ve enjoyed a few lines of his teachings from posts by Facebook friends, but I don’t know much about him. Years ago, I had purchased his book The Liberator and put it on my very full “want to read” bookshelf. Perhaps it’s time to read it. I suppose I’ll have to practice patience while I wait to find out what Adi Da meant by “ten more years.” In ten years, it will be 11-10-2021… I wonder if there’s anything significant predicted for that date.

What powerful dreams have you had recently?

Taking Refuge – published in Awareness Magazine

My article “Taking Refuge” was published in Awareness Magazine, in the November/December issue with the angels and holiday theme. Learn about this powerful Buddhist practice, and how it can help you today.

If you cannot find a print copy, don’t worry – you can check it out online here: http://awarenessmag.com/november-december-2011/november-december-2011-page18.html 

I’d love to hear your comments!

The Simple Path

(This is an excerpt from the transcript of the 3/5/11 class lecture at Dharma Center. Special thanks to A.C. for recording & typing the transcripts!)
 

The path itself is so, so simple. But you guys like to make it very complicated, it’s funny.  (laughs)  But really the entire path is: you control the focus of your mind in all of your activities, and then every day – or twice a day is better – you sit in silence and let the light do whatever it will. That’s the whole path!  (laughs) That’s it, okay, goodbye!  (laughs)

But we’re so conditioned to be always doing, always thinking, always having this inner monologue running along, it makes it very difficult just to sit and listen. 

So, the first part of the practice, learning how to control the focus of your mind – now in how the world is at this stage of our development, how our society is, you hear the word ‘control’ and you think of power. And you think of putting up a border because you know there’s only a certain amount of area that you can control. So in essence you start to withdraw. You suck in and say “Okay I can only control my room or my house or my car” and really you can’t control any of those things. So you say “Okay well I’m going to just work on controlling my body.” And guess what, you can’t control that either!  (laughs)  You can influence it. You can take care of it to the best of your ability, which I highly recommend because it’s more energy efficient. If you take care of your body and your world you can have a lot more fun in it! 

But when it comes down to control, all you can control is where you focus your mind, what you pay attention to. And that’s really not all that much, but it’s everything at the same time. Because by controlling where you place your attention the result of that is the ability to influence your perception of your environment. You alter your mind state through that control of perception, through that control of focus. 

We use beauty and gratitude as tools to help us learn how to live in the higher and brighter mind states. Through practicing you start to figure out that “Oh if I start looking at things through the eyes of beauty or the eyes of gratitude, things look a little differently than they do if I’m looking through the eyes of self-pity or anger or sorrow.” And that’s an experience that you have, and really that’s the only way that you can fully learn and appreciate that teaching, is you have to experience it. Which means you have to pay attention. Which is another level of controlling the focus of your mind. 

If you’re not controlling what you’re focusing on, you kind of just space out and you’re not really aware of what you’re looking at. But if you start to pay attention – we’ve talked about this a thousand times – paying attention is that first crucial step, of just looking at: Where is your mind? What thoughts are going through it? What are you being drawn to focus on over and over again? And then at that point you can seize control and decide “Is this where I want to place my attention? Is this what I want to create in my life? Is this what I want to grow?” 

It’s very similar to planting a garden. If you want the flowers to grow, you pay attention to those. You give them fertilizer, you give them water, you make sure they have the right amount of sun. But rather if you want the weeds to grow, you pay attention to the weeds and you give them water and you give them sun and fertilizer. And then the weeds will grow! The process is the same, but most people enjoy the flowers more than the weeds. So it’s a purely logical thing that you would focus on the bright and beautiful things in your life. One is not inherently better than the other. Just one will serve you, one will be more functional. Simply because when you live in brighter, happier, higher mind states they are higher, which means you have a better view. 

The other half of the path is giving yourself that time to simply sit and be still both physically and internally. We have lots of different techniques and tools we can use to achieve that. But the number one thing is giving yourself time to actually do that, every single day. Like I said, sitting in meditation twice a day is better. It works better if you do it twice a day…

~Jenna

Reaching for Enlightenment (a poem for Rama)

I wrote this for Rama, and after his death in 1998, I posted it on www.Ramalila.com where students were finding each other. Lynne found my poem and then me, and we discovered we were neighbors. We quickly became friends, and from that friendship, Dharma Center was born.

 

The ethereal being
In the ocean of your eyes
Drowns me in the sunshine of love,
Yet it is not the form
That I love,
But the essence.

I reach out to touch you,
But you slip between my fingers
Like a ripple on a pond,
Cascading over me,
Softly, gently –
Whispering through me
Like a cool summer’s breeze.

In the silence of my mind
You shatter the darkness,
Fierce and brilliant
Like sunrise in the desert,
Glowing gold and red
Across a silent indigo night.

I see you as I walk alone
In the blooming of a rose
And in the delicate drop of dew
That lies in rest upon its velvet petals.

I feel you as the sunshine
Pouring down from the heavens,
And I sit with open hands
Beneath the blazing flame –
But the endless rays cannot be contained
By the limits of my form.

In the evening sky,
I watch you as a shooting star,
And passion propels me
Like a river rushing to the sea
To unite with the light of that star,
As it burns its form
To reveal the essence
That I love.

(1994)

Retreat, Rejuvenate, Recreate

The results of daily spiritual practice are tough to see. We meditate each morning, practice mindfulness throughout the day, we give our full attention to our projects, and we meditate again in the evening. Like trying to watch your hair grow, we just don’t see the minute changes. Once in a while life throws us an experience where we recognize how our patterns have changed. Perhaps we run into an old acquaintance who used to draw us into dark drama, and this time we choose a happier way of interacting with him. We have a moment where we remember who we used to be and we can appreciate who we are now. Most of the time we don’t see this. Most of the time we are living here, in the present, living in joy.

Compared to the general population, those of us who embrace our spiritual practice every moment of every day live in high, beautiful states of mind. Even in these happy states of mind, we can find ourselves stuck in our limited ideas of self. We reach a plateau that doesn’t seem to have a way to go beyond it. In order to keep moving forward, we take the time to retreat as part of our spiritual practice. Retreats are opportunities to rejuvenate and recreate the Self. On a retreat, we step away from our daily routines and patterns. This gives us an opportunity to make tremendous leaps in awareness.

The teachers at Dharma Center take members on retreat once or twice a year. These events allow us to get together and spend a few days away from the world. Sometimes we venture into the desert, where the energy is intense and our concepts of self are sanded down. Other times we travel to the mountains to experience a softer energy that gently wears away our limitations.

During the retreat, we never know exactly what will happen, although we do select a leader who maintains the focus on Light and spiritual growth. We enter the retreat with the understanding that the leader makes the decisions, which allows everyone to leave as much of their ego at home as possible. 

During our retreat earlier this month, we rented a huge house in the mountains where we played. As the leader, I suggested people bring paper and crayons to get in touch with their child-like creativity. Of course I knew they would think I was joking, so I brought plenty to share. Silly pictures were drawn, a few games of chess were played, and journals were filled with words. We all took turns putting together a puzzle we found in the house.

The puzzle turned into an incredible challenge. We sorted 1000 nearly identically sized and shaped pieces into huge piles of almost the same color. I watched the different approaches by the people playing as we struggled with the puzzle, learning that each piece could fit in many different slots but had only one true home.  

After my shower on the last morning of the retreat, I saw the completed the puzzle on the table. Upon a closer look I noticed two pieces had been forced into place and were sticking up. I tore into the puzzle once again, pulling out about 30 H-shaped yellow pieces that looked ever-so-slightly out of place. After an hour I gave up and others took over. They were able to get the pieces together, but again, some were shoved into the wrong place. As the clocked moved closer to checkout time, I noticed the pull to just get it “done” even if the pieces weren’t together correctly.

When it was time to leave, we debated if we should tear it apart and put it back in the box, knowing we had not been able to complete it. I decided to pull the three ill-fitting pieces out and leave it for the next visitors to the house to puzzle over. I imagined the next person saying, “Only three pieces left! Oh…wait a minute, they don’t fit…why won’t they fit?” 

This puzzling experience offered an insight of how our current self is like a puzzle piece. We experiment with the aspects of our life, trying to find the precise fit for our current self. Sometimes the urge to squish the self into the wrong slot is irresistible. However, when we do that, we soon discover the others pieces of life won’t fit together. After playing with the possibilities, we eventually find the just-right home, and the puzzle is complete. Then we discover a new layer of self, and in doing so we discover a new puzzle to play with.

Retreats give us the space to shift our awareness. At home, we return to our daily practice in a new way, rejuvenated and re-created. Sometimes we come back from a retreat and see exact

ly what needs to change in order for us to move closer to finishing the current puzzle of our life and our place in this world. Other times we discover we have shifted into a new self because our old puzzle is done and we have begun a new one. We feel the truth of The I-Ching, which states: “Completion is beginning again.” And in this way, moment-by-moment, we continue growing in Infinte Eternal Awareness.

Tattoo Parlor of Enlightenment

Melinda strolled into the tiny tattoo parlor tucked in between the Chinese restaurant and the pawnshop. She twirled one of her blond pigtails around her index finger, checking out the pictures plastered over every inch of wall space. She stopped in front of a block of Chinese dragons.

“Howdy there little lady, my name is Enza. What can I do for you?” asked a burly man covered from head to toe in tattoos. Streaks of gray poked out from the long black ponytail hanging down his back. The colors of his beard and mustache were reversed, with only a few strands of black left. The wrinkles and laugh lines that textured his face were all but hidden by his wide grin.

“I want a tattoo,” replied Melinda. “I think I want a dragon…or wait a minute, what are these?” she asked as she stood in front of a block of squiggly designs.

“Those are Sanskrit symbols, and a few are Tibetan characters,” replied Enza.

“I like the Buddha over there too.”

“Check these out,” said Enza as he rolled up his sleeve. “This here is Green Tara, and on this side is Milarepa.”

“Wow, they’re awesome!” Melinda began to wander again around the shop, unable to keep her feet still. Finally, she stopped for a moment and pointed. “What does this one mean?”

“That’s an OM. Some monks say OM is the sound of Eternity. The monks chant it to help empty their minds and open up to Enlightenment,” said Enza, his eyes twinkling as if he had drifted into ecstasy.

“Enlightenment, huh? Sure, let’s try that one.”

“If you’re certain that’s what you want, we can get started.” Enza motioned towards the chair near the back wall.

Melinda practically ran to the chair, then suddenly stopped. “I thought I wanted it on my arm, but now I think I may want to put it above my ankle.” She rocked back and forth, shifting her weight from one leg to the other. Her finger continued to twirl her hair as she cocked her head to one side, and then the other as she debated the placement of her tattoo.

“It’s an important decision,” said Enza patiently. “A tattoo is a permanent feature of your body; you may be able to alter it, but it will always be there.”

“Ok, Ok,” squeaked Melinda. “The ankle it is!” She plopped down in the chair. She kept shifting her leg and foot to get a better look at where the new tattoo would soon be.

“You’ll need to stay very still, or I won’t be able to work,” Enza gently reminded her as he laid a firm hand on top of her knee.

Melinda continued to squirm in excitement and anticipation. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t stop her foot from twitching and jumping. Enza tried to press the stencil onto her leg, but with each flinch, he would have to clean off the temporary ink and start over.

“You know, the monks seeking Enlightenment have the same problem,” said Enza quietly.

“How’s that?” Melinda replied, her eyes darting across the floor. A deep frown reflected the fear that she wouldn’t be able to get the tattoo she desperately wanted.

“Enlightenment is already here, but to become aware of it, you must sit very still for a very long time. All of the experiences a person has in the world create conditioning, a sort of autopilot that runs the person’s reactions to life. Over time, the ideas of how the world operates build up structures within the mind. The mind jumps from structure to structure, concept to concept, thought to thought. It’s always moving from here to there, just like your leg does every time I get near it.”

“So how do I make it stop moving?” asked Melinda.

“The same way the monks do: meditation,” replied Enza. A soft light grew around Enza’s head, and soon spread to cover his entire body in gold. “Close your eyes and concentrate on the OM symbol. Keep focusing until you can see it clearly in your mind’s eye.”

Melinda thought about leaving and finding another tattoo parlor. This guy obviously had a few loose screws. She loved the symbol she had picked out, so she decided to humor the old man. She looked at the symbol on the paper for a minute, and then closed her eyes to concentrate like Enza had suggested.

“A part of you is always dissolved in meditation, in the clear light of Enlightenment,” whispered Enza. “Some people think they meditate; in truth though, no one meditates. All you need to do is stop thought and get out of the way. Concentrate until only OM exists, and you’ll discover Eternity is already meditating through your being. Stay still long enough, and She will cut away the concepts binding you to this world of suffering.”

Melinda imagined the OM symbol in her mind as Enza’s soothing voice calmed her chaotic thoughts. She felt her body completely relax as her mind filled with feelings of bliss and peace. In this place of silence, nothing mattered. All that existed within her was endless radiant light.

Enza worked quickly and quietly with his ink and needle. Golden light spilled out from his being and into Melinda as she floated in silence, a smile curled upon her lips.

“In the sacred space of meditation, sensations sink into the background. Thoughts arise and fall away like the waves of the ocean, not leaving any impressions. Here, everything is perfect,” said Enza, slowly withdrawing the Light from the room and pulling Melinda back to physical awareness. “The tattoo may be sore for a few days as the skin heals. Be sure to keep it clean and out of the sun,” continued Enza as he helped Melinda stand up.

Bewildered, tears of gratitude fell from Melinda eyes. “It’s beautiful, simply beautiful,” she sobbed, standing in front of the mirror admiring the new artwork shining above her ankle. “Exactly what I wanted. How could I ever repay you?”

“The tattoo costs $250. The meditation lesson was free. I hope you’ll want to continue the practice, and find your way back into the silence by yourself. If you don’t want to, though, that’s quite alright too.”

Melinda handed Enza cash to pay for the tattoo. She didn’t want to leave, but there didn’t seem to be anything else to say.

Enza grinned as he held the door open for her. “Have a great day!” he chimed as she walked out into the world, the new tattoo a larger part of her than she had ever expected.

  by Jenna Sundell, 2006