I got home from my long meditation retreat last night and there are many stories to tell. But I’ll start with what is most pressing on my brain … I fell in love.
A hundred of us meditated in the hall for about seven hours a day. No talking. No touching. No eye contact. So how is it possible to feel this depth of love for someone in that environment? Well, it is.
For the first two days of the retreat, we were allowed to talk, and I enjoyed saying things to this woman, whom I’ll call Ginette. She’s pretty, and that’s nice, but it was her smile that made her shine. And later, for weeks in the meditation hall, as she sat right behind me, I felt this loving energy from back there. I do believe that at least some of it was aimed at me.
I created scenarios to fill my future – our wedding day, vacationing in the Caribbean, just sitting on the couch, cuddling. Sometimes I was fully aware of my thoughts and feelings of the moment. At other times, I was lost in longing.
I thought of Jody, and how it’s only been a year since my beloved died. “It’s too early, Bruce.” “She’s probably happily married.” “You don’t know anything about her.” And still I loved.
I brought a Buddha Board with me to the retreat. It’s a little soft inclined surface within a plastic frame. If you dip a brush in water, you can create fanciful designs and lovely words. Slowly and surely, those images disappear as the water evaporates. Day after day, I wrote “Ginette and Bruce”. And then watched the impermanence of it all.
I looked for any sign that she liked, perhaps loved, me. Outside on the driveway, Ginette sometimes walked near me during our periods of walking meditation. In the hall, she would occasionally make little sounds as we meditated. All evidence of love, I reasoned.
Should I move to where she lives or should she come to me? Decisions, decisions. Oh, what a lovestruck boy am I.
About a week ago, the last three days of the retreat allowed for some talking. Ginette and I went for a walk and sat on a rock at the edge of a large pond. I told her that I loved her. I believe she was taken aback. And then I gathered all my courage and said what I’d been yearning to say, not knowing if I would be welcomed or rejected:
“If ever you don’t have a husband, I’d like to be your boyfriend.”
To say what is true with no intention of hurting the other person is a blessing. Ginette said she didn’t know what to say. “You don’t have to say anything.” We talked for forty-five more minutes, not about what I’d said but about important things. She uncovered parts of her soul and I did the same.
And this … Ginette is happily married.
And this from me … “I need to let you go.” Smiles and a hug. And great sadness when I was alone.
Weeks ago, I imagined Ginette and I dancing the waltz, with great tenderness and joy. A day or two after the rock, I was sitting quietly when another image showed itself – Ginette and her husband dancing with the same joy. I cried. I see clearly that I want Ginette to be happy, and I want her husband to be happy. If they’re happy together, then I want them to be together and watch their love grow. Do no harm. Their happiness, and my happiness – far beyond my longing to be with Ginette. Yes.
Ginette’s husband’s name is Bruce. I thought of my Buddha Board, and watched the phrase “Ginette and Bruce” become ever more beautiful.