After sunset then, I’d just finished meditating in the quiet of my bedroom. My tradition is to ring the singing bowl three times as I come back to this rational realm of living. That’s a touch that I witnessed many a time during meditation retreats … but I do it differently. In the hall of the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts, the teacher rings the bell a second time before the sound of the first strike fades, and the same with the third. I wait until the flow of each has fallen into silence. It feels right so I do it.
Headlights passed before my window left to right and right to left, way off in the distance on Harrietsville Drive. I rose from the chair … and lay down on my bed – an unusual choice in such a moment. I rested on my back in the darkness and closed my hands over my heart. There was no intention. My hands merely found their way to the centre.
A perfect coffin dweller, I thought. So there I was, feeling into my life. My casket time may be next week or thirty years down the road. Either way, it’s coming. I wondered if I’ll leave something behind. Would it be so awful if I didn’t? No. But I think I will.
A Grade 6 boy approached me at home time today and whispered “Don’t tell anybody, but I think you’re the best teacher in the school.” I smiled and put my hand on his shoulder. “Thank you.” I’m actually a volunteer in the class, but I appreciate his thought.
On the way home, I stopped at the local arena to vote in Canada’s federal election. On the way out the door, I saw a school bus come to a stop, and out came one of my favourite students from three years ago. She’s in high school now. We walked towards each other. I know I made an impact on her back then but she was nervous with me today … a little distant, a little formal. We traded news and said goodbye.
One kid, one teen. I like to think I’ve touched both of their lives, even if that wasn’t so clear today. And now I smile as I write. The answer has bubbled up:
Yes, you have