Sidewalk Ashram

I want to be alone. I don’t mean alone like nobody else around or nobody talking to me. I mean alone like I’ve never known anyone and have no memories of anything I’ve ever done to hurt anyone or memories of anything I’ve ever done to be ashamed of.

I don’t want anybody trying to cheer me up either.

I don’t do yoga to feel good.

I’m not even sure I do it for myself.

I told a devi I know that I want everyone to leave me alone so that I can practice. But that will never work.

I can’t walk around like a one-man monastery.

I am of the world.

I practice in temptation and the six o’clock body count.

I practice in the light and darkness of everything I’ve ever thought, said or done.

All experience is mind.
All practice is mind.

I’m coming out of Denny’s with my first cup of the day. The sky is clouded over and I can’t see the sunrise. Kinda gloomy; like my mood. I’m moping along and a woman is walking next to me a few steps away.

She says to me…

Isn’t this a beautiful morning?
I say: Yes. (no)
She says: It makes me happy.
I say: Yeah, me too. (not really)
She says: Good morning Border Patrol guys! (to a group of Border Patrol men coming around the corner from the parking lot. They ignore her.)

We continue on our parallel paths until we pass on either side of a light pole as I turn toward the parking lot.

Bread and butter! She calls out.

And I say bread and butter back to her. By now she has my attention and I look over at her for the first time and see that she is trying hard to make eye contact. We connect for a moment and then go our ways.

My teachers keep showing up.

Do you want the world to hush so that you can think, she says? Do you require an unblemished mind before you care for yourself? Do those things seem likely? And what then would your practice be? Come on. Break’s over. The morning’s beauty is waiting just for you.

Sometimes I want to shed who I think I am (and who I think you think I am) and fade into a crowd and try to get it right.

And then someone offers me the simplest community and reminds me that I can only ever practice with things as they are.

~~~

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10 responses to “Sidewalk Ashram

  1. Yeah, nice to have a clean slate…. so much easier than editing. But no one has a clean slate and those that don’t notice may be the simple minded. So shall we be simple minded by choice? One thought, one action and do it again. That’s the code of Breema. I like it. I choose that when my slate is too full and I need to begin again. That’s why I’ve shunned writing and social media lately. It makes the slate messy and it’s not even my mess but it feels like it when I throw my crap into the mix. Gotta be feeling strong to go there. If not, be alone until all is clear and quiet. But what’s with ‘bread and butter’. That kind of freaks me out. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. You didn’t do that when you were a kid, Hil? If two of you are walking, and you go around something, one on each side of it, you say Bread and butter! Don’t ask me why it isn’t ham and cheese or tofu and sardines or some other things that go together – it’s just Bread and butter!

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    • No, I’m a Yankee and we didn’t say that nor did I hear it but we said, “two sides of the same coin” and if we were true blue New York Yankees we said “fuck it” and left it alone. Guess folks don’t realize how zen the New Yorkers are. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. “…come together”. That’s how we finish bread and butter… I love this story of your early morning teacher. I’m so glad I don’t have to choose everything that goes on in my life. I’m not convinced I’d do nearly as good of it as chance/the universe/the divine seems to do.

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    • Come together! Of course. I’d forgotten the ending, Amanda. We’d like to choose everything that happens, wouldn’t we. Can you imagine the mess? Fortunately, greater wisdom is at work until we can gain a little wisdom of our own.

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