In Stillness, Enlightenment

I’m spending Easter Friday in a hotel in Singapore. It’s a day in between work and family time, a day to get over a respiratory cold that’s been lingering, a ‘me day’ in between a big breath out and a big breath in.

I went down to the pool area in the late morning and found some shade under an umbrella. The warm, humid air felt nourishing to my itching lungs. I spent an hour in the lap pool with no one else around. Too weak to swim laps I instead moved slowly with tai chi like strokes, feeling weightless water caressing my skin, hearing the billion different nuances of the sound of water, observing the optical illusions created by movement. Enjoying the metaphor – only in absolute stillness did the water reflect the world around me. The tropical lushness, the blue sky above. Even the slightest breath out would distort the picture of reality reflected on the surface. And I found a part of me that has expected to always be able to see the truth, and therefore has held its breath to not disturb the water. A part convinced that inviting others in would inevitably lead to motion, and the truth would disappear out of sight. A part not trusting that that’s okay.

I learned a lesson in that pool today, one I didn’t know I hadn’t already learned: that we can neither keep nor loose enlightenment. It’s always there, in the stillness, like the world’s reflection on motionless water. In the stillness between breathing out and breathing in. Breathing in and breathing out. Never more than a breath away.

What do you feel?

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