I’m walking through the forest up an incline on the fire road with my golden retriever. Stillness beckons, but my mind is restless, incessantly considering, solving, creating, ruminating. I suffer with the world. Its perpetual injustice, I lament. Its life-consuming greediness, I grieve. Its ignorance including my own, I abhor. Its rejection of Supreme order, I fear. Powerless, I walk onward through my internal fog, aware that I am missing the moment. I revert to chanting inside my head all the while aware that I am missing more than life. I am simply missing.
Where am I? I am stepping forward up the fire road. Cabo, nose to the ground, pauses to sniff a scent in the tall grass, then squats to pee. He’s always present in the here and now. Like all things nonhuman, it’s his nature. I look up at the crest of the road where it turns and dips out of sight into the shadows. I am missing something; I am missing everything. Restlessness reigns. Purposeful is my pace, as if I have somewhere I have to be, but I don’t. Or do I? My attention shifts to my breathing - in, in, in, out, out, out, and release. For a moment, stillness pervades and I stop. Cabo stops. We listen. Low down, high up, not a leaf moves, no rustle, no sound except that of my panting dog. Just stillness. The ground anchors me. The trees envelop me. The ferns and Rhododendrons reach out to me from the edges. Oh, how much I am missing!
Suddenly we are not alone. Cabo’s posture tenses, his nose points, the hair along his spine raises, the bases of his ear flaps elevate. He watches and waits, alert for some call to action. I see the tall thin figure of a male, that of an adolescent, rise up over the crest and stroll down the slope toward us. He’s barefoot. His gait is smooth, flowing, as if the soles of his feet are anesthetized, impervious to the points in the gravel. Grace defines his movement, communicating a vast harmony in which I am meant to reside. Motionless I stand, my eyes affixed with Cabo’s to his. As he approaches, it is clear he does not intend to just walk on by, but to engage us somehow. How could he not? His gentle gaze pierces my yearning. He reaches his hand out toward Cabo who goes prone in obedience. Interesting. Close enough now, I behold his eyes, large, deep hazel with thin golden rings surrounding the pupils. They gloss, like polished glass. His skin appears soft, smooth, unblemished by hormones or worry. He stands tall like the redwoods, their innocence, their strength, their wisdom – all his - as if he was born of them. I feel him holding me in his vision, not with the instruments of his eyes, but with a mysterious knowing. In that, I am embraced. I cannot deny the tingle of protection, the buzz of peace in and around me. Cabo looks up at him, sniffing his fingertips. I am aware without fear, absolved and redeemed, free for the moment. And it is sacred. Who is this?
“You are lost,” he declares with an air of empathetic certainty.
“No - I live less than a mile from here,” I respond, aware that I just missed his point.
“You summoned me.”
“Yes, you did.”
“What now?” I acquiesce.
“Yes, what now?”
“Who are you?”
“Yes,” he replies as he points to me, then to himself, then opens his hands and spreads them, turning his body full circle, “Our voice. Who are you?”
“Just a person trying to find my way.”
“Where to, or should I ask, what to?”
“To peace, to happiness, to truth, to love.”
“On the fire road!” he declares.
I look at him quizzically. “And here you are, our voice engaging me – talk to me.”
“You don’t hear it, do you?”
“I’m answering your questions, aren’t I?”
“The voice of spirit, no ears can discern.”
I stare into his eyes, aware of an intensity expanding my forehead while Cabo’s panting dissolves into the silence. He stares back, smiling. His features blur like I am seeing him through frosted glass illuminated by the sun. An inner urge to utter a response rises up into my throat, but he suppresses it with the press of his index finger across my lips. “Shhhhhhhhh.”
Instead, I exhale into the silence. Silence fills me. Silence expands me. Here, I am aware only of being aware – of diffuse light without boundary humming loudly. I stand transfixed, completed. Peace has become me. I don’t ever want to move from this realm of stunning clarity.
Cabo yelps. The light disappears. Forms re-emerge. The boy's form has vanished. I feel my feet propel me forward slowly, deliberately, while I listen. Intently I listen. All is well. No need to think, only to attend. Grace is moving me further along the fire road. My eyes drip with gratitude. At this moment, nothing else matters.
The dysfunctional yogi