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Every Day Acts of Peace

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tibet 1995: We Are Strands Married In The Web of Life

My friends and I climbed all day
to reach the summit ...
where the unseen air
moves the prayer flags
in a dance
that joins the infinite
with the finite -
the visible world
with the invisible realms ...
beyond perception.

I sit on a large rock face
overlooking the world.

Out of the palm of my hand
I extract the splinters
I gathered
spinning the circular frame
of the prayer wheel
over zealously
this morning.

It was my attempt
to turn the wheel,
overturn the central axis
of my fate
and confirm the end
of my karmic life cycles.

I draw out
the wood and metal
embedded into my hand
with great respect,
with the same forgiveness
gifted to any module ritual.

I press my palm
to express what was
further pressured
into me
from the outside,
from the push
in the climb
to these new heights.

I inhale deeply
stinging my lungs
and chapping my throat.

I am very cold
and wrap my handkerchiefs
tightly around my wrists
to seal my cuffs.

I have no buttons,
I gifted them away to someone
who treasured them more than I.

Yesterday I watched an Elder,
a sightless lady
focused intently on her worship -
her vision was impaired
yet the sanctity of her faith
was not blind.

She turned over,
end to end,
each one of her prayer beads
only to stop, once -
to grab my arm
to capture and hold my attention.

I held her hand in mine
and I felt her textures -
her sunny skin burnt-golden
and the creases of her smiles.

Her heart caressed
my purple corduroy coat,
she had a fierce grip,
as unrelenting as her determination
to live out her life
on the terms of her own devotion.

The buttons on my coat cuff
resembled her prayer beads,
and each time her hand found a button,
she turned it over
smiling as she passed it
between her fingers.

Each button was treated sacrosanct,
sensed as if it held a beaded memory
and the mere touch of it
released a familiar store
of past sights and sensations -
treasured relics from her
boxed and buried past.

I felt her touch,
her fingertips brushed
the softness of my fabric.

I felt her sound,
her prayers penetrated
past my exterior coat
into my padded inner-lining.

I wished my coat sleeve had more buttons,
offerings for her to redeem
along each step in her Soul's search.

I sat down beside her
and I took her free hand,
then I glided my fingers
over the gilded pads of her fingertips.

I traced her configuration,
the structural arrangements of her parts,
the concentric circles that her uniqueness carved
and printed into the flesh that covered her jointed bones.

I felt the fabric of our universality,
the pattern that had built up over time,
the relationship of elements
in our bodies to our substance
and systems of being.

My wrist clicked from the dampness,
and my breath slowed from the high altitude.

I bent myself into a whispering position.
I shivered from the chill in the ground.
I wrapped myself tighter whenever my body shuttered.

I found my voice, I quivered.
Blind chance and cold made me sound
like a chanter, a singer of town cries.

Softly and cautiously from my mouth spilled
the stuttered lyrics of an ancient poem -
about a mountain that had a temple,
which housed a monk,
who told a story -
about a mountain that had a temple,
which housed a monk,
who told a story.
She giggled as I repeated the poem
each time she asked what the story was about.

She knew her part and I knew mine.
We both played our roles and found fun in the game.
We were philosophical about life and meshed.
We were fabric woven together at regular intervals,
a system related, connected parts,
paths that crossed in the manner
of strings threaded into a net.

We talked and she prayed
that someday ...
We would all Self-realize,
remember to see, that ...
We are all connected,
strands married in the web of life.

~~ Other People's Fingerprints ~~
Henrik Johan Ibsen sometime after 1828 wrote;
"If you want to be of value to society,
 there is no better way
 than to forge yourself
 into a vessel for its use."