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Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Clarity of Water

Childhood is a shallow pond.

The water is cold and clean. The surface, uncluttered by debris. Its contents so clear that only its reflection indicates anything is there.

Pebbles are scattered across the bottom, rocks of different colors and shapes and sizes. We can reach in and stack them, move them into piles of likeness or arrange them into designs. It's all so accessible.

But the seasons change.

Leaves fall, temporarily floating, eventually sinking. The wind chops the surface, particles of dust obscures reflections. Algae grips the rocks and currents, stirred up by the wind, break it away until specks swirl in the depths. In some cases, it floats to the top in blankets of slime.

Drop a pebble into the water now, and it fades from sight.

Perhaps that pebble is a name of someone we just met. Maybe someone's birthday or where we left the keys. Now we rely on lists to remember things, create reminders to avoid forgetting. We stay organized. We read books but the details pass through us. We see faces that we should know. We look for the stones at the bottom but the colors have faded, the edges are warped.

What happens when we can no longer see the bottom, when the details of our life disappear as soon as they slip below the surface? What happens when our memories fade.

Am I my memories?

Perhaps meditation can clarify the waters, reveal the wonder that was present when we were children. But as children, it was shallow. Now it has become deeper, the potential so much more richer. Maybe the stillness can return and the debris settle upon the bottom so that we see clearly, once again.

Or maybe we are not the clarity but simply the lotus at home in the muddy water.

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