Bhavana

  
Bhavana, meaning to cultivate or develop but commonly used as a word for meditation in Buddhism, filtered down into my comprehension pool of late, that place where I can see a term’s reflection and pair it with illustrative experience to flesh out the bones of the word.

Cultivating takes time; it slowly sweeps widespread across a large swath of reading, span of years and percolation time. Like when I first tried vegetarianism back in the 90s. I ran tons then and ate little meat to keep light. Thinking the natural evolution of cutting back on animal protein was a vegetarian diet, I took the leap but was unsuccessful. I craved someting, felt a huge hole in my diet and so gave up. 

Fifteen years later, without much thought, I just stopped eating meat. And never missed it. Like yoga and meditation, dozens of attempts over several decades and then one day it all made sense and was effortless to form the habit with full understanding of that seepage, that diffusion through mental pores of  cultivated disposition to bend not only body but behavior, to flex a will to become. Unfold. 

Sometimes conscious understanding needs time to catch up to that deeper knowledge, the stretch between knowing and understanding like the lightbulb lit with the words, “So that was what he was trying to tell me,” or “now I get how to play fifth position on the fingerboard”. Before, it was flat mystery like a hollow idea.

Bhavana is like a road trip uncharted and unknown at the start but so expected at the destination. As if you always knew where you were going after rolling back all the miles that you thought you had no idea where you were–an illusion, like your shadow catching up with you.

 
credit: wikipedia

Ring of Fire

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credit: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/

Now that the pressure’s gone, I wake up,
reach for my phone and push pause
before my eyes open.
Can’t be sure what time or day it is.
I’m in between worlds.
Vaguely, there is a sense of somewhere to go
but not urgently.
I fall back in the wispy strands of the dream:
You and Carmen and Rick stood in a circle
at the end of the street
breathing in the thick of the night.
The air around you was smoke
dotted with tiny red flares,
a mixture of fog and tobacco fumes.
I thought you quit years ago.
You did.
I remember the sound of the scraped butt
smashed to the ground
under your cowboy booted heels,
sizzle to a stop.
“I’m finished,” you said.
And then it was as if you had never smoked
those last fifteen years.
I never could keep a forever mind like that.
Everything is conditional and environmental
like a chameleon, something I called you.
But when Carmen, who smoked a pack a day then,
stole your glances and eventually your heart,
you never resumed the habit.
And there you were standing with them
at the corner of my block.
Maybe you weren’t smoking.
It was hard to tell in the nighttime mist.
I wanted to say something to you,
Something about how it has been
since you left,
not a complaint,
just to make you understand something,
a notion about passing time
and diminished threats.
But the block was too long
and it kept getting longer
each step bringing me farther from the circle,
closed circle you made in a ring of fire.