Time For Us All To Break Out

It’s time to break out
Burst forward
Jump into a new mode
Or place
Or wave of perception.

Oh, I’ll still be me;
Don’t worry about that.
But what is “me”?
Can I push the me concept
Or even the true essence of myself
Towards a greater sphere
A wider atmosphere
A more expansive city
Or planet
Or even God?

How about you
Whoever you may be?
Are you settled and content?
Hungry and confused?

Do you wake up and think:
“Welcome, Day; I know just how to navigate you”?
Or do you seek a new game
Or maybe a new kind of sense
Beyond sight, hearing, touch, smell
Or even taste?
Yes, even beyond the crispiest, juiciest duck brushed with cherry sauce
Or the sweetest mango
For all you lucky souls who find that thought more enticing than the duck.

Are you famished like I am
Even though your belly is well fed?
Do you want the kind of “more” that doesn’t seem to come
No matter what you try?

I sure have tried: no one can erase my efforts.
I chanted at the conference
Chatted up the monks in Harvard Square
And Washington Square Park
And probably other places that aren’t coming to mind.

I lived with Hasidic Jews
Studied with out-of-body adventurers
And debated — so intense and yet so friendly —
With evangelical Christians.

I even floated in a sensory deprivation tank.
OK, yes, I freaked out and turned on the lights
Because the tank reminded me of a coffin
But, look, I don’t want to condemn myself
Just like I’d hope that you would not condemn your own fabulous efforts.
Sometimes fear speaks a higher kind of language
To a different kind of mind:
A mind we’re not aware of having
Even as it picks up danger
And escapes.

Could it be a tilt of awareness
And minor changes
That are actually cataclysmic
Rather than big trips, huge events, and sensation seeking
That will help me reach
Whatever it is I crave?

Today I found newness in oldness.
A walk to an area I hadn’t explored in years
Right near my home
Somehow felt like a new orbit
If not a new planet or point in space.

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A small art gallery seemed to wave.
I answered the call and went inside.
No, the air didn’t shine with new wisdom
Or wide open secrets
But the feeling in there was different
From the one I’d sensed before.
I saw a new kind of book
With no words or images
Just pages bound together
Beautiful pages that showcase nothing but themselves
And I thought: “Hmmm. I would not have imagined this.”
Sometimes, that in itself is a quietly glorious thing.

Later, a teenage boy and a chubby older man
Played music near the library:
The boy on electric guitar
And the man on electric piano.
They were calm and quiet
But their electricity spoke to me
Gave an impression of transcending sadness
As I read the last few pages of a book about immortality
On a surprisingly comfortable bench.
The book ended well.
A minty breeze hit me
Minty because the level of coolness
Was just like mint:
Crisp but not overpowering.
The key here
Was that I noticed
And appreciated it
And remembered how it felt
And even made a record of it.

Can I make this a trend?
Do it again tomorrow?
And by “it” I just mean
Look deep into the day
And savor it
And squeeze out the points of wisdom
And potential wisdom
And even just hints of goodness
That remind me of something like mint
Or water pouring on my hands when I need it
Or something else that’s so simple
A distracted or over-worried mind
Might not see.

Can I inspire you to do the same
Or can you inspire yourself
Or someone else?
It’s easy to forget
That we’re all hanging around here
Looking for something
Whether we seek it through thought
Or adventure
Or acclaim
Or raising children
Or even appreciating the perfect bite of toast
In our own kitchens.

I’m not saying that calm appreciation is the final goal or destiny.
I’m much too needy for that.
Aren’t you?
I want fireworks, explosions of insight, wham bam miracles.
Bliss, not just satisfaction.

But maybe the best way to seek is not to seek
But to imbibe, slowly, the glories you find
Just from waking up
And treating your day with honor
And being open to the chance
That the miracle is hidden within the daily rounds
The casual walk
The quietly perfect moment that’s nothing at first
Until you recognize it
And push, very slowly
Into it
And then beyond it.
The curtain opens
The window slides away
Don’t count on me to say what happens next.
I’m still seeking, and if I find one answer
I’ll surely seek another.

Ask yourself:
What might lie beyond the window?
To formulate the question
And then put it aside until some small, good thing brings it back
Might be just the thing
That brings you a glimpse
Or even a vision.


***Image Credit: “Jumping Silhouettes” by Antoine Gady, February 18, 2012, on flickr.com