Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wearing flip-flops

Life is the ultimate example of flip-flop. Scientists have no explanation; religions attempt to give reasons and we just sit here in anticipation. What else can we really do?

Monk Ki has been sitting for hours. The sun begins to tint the morning sky. Venus will pale in the bright light. The student sitting in his robes laughs at this thought. Venus is so often used as a symbol for love and yet love pales in the bright piercing light of the noonday sun.

“Return to the breath.” And with these words Monk Ki settles down.

Footsteps sound on the wooden floor. Firm steps, quiet steps, subtle steps. The feet stop directly behind Monk Ki. He waits. A barely audible sound of breathing hangs in the air along with a hint of incense from the distant altar. Fabric stirs. A hand touches Monk Ki’s shoulder. He looks over his shoulder. There stands Master Ho Ha.

The teacher’s right hand emerges from the folds of his sleeve and the fingers flicker indicating that the student should rise and follow. The old man does not wait for a response he turns and walks out of the room. Monk Ki rises, bows to his cushion and follows in the wake of his teacher. His mind struggles to find words to address the master. “You rang. Whas up. You need me? Problem? What have I done or not done now? Have I done something wrong?” None of the phrases seem right. The old man exits the temple ands turns.

“Of course, if you were following your breath you wouldn’t have felt my hand on your shoulder.” He laughs. “How are you Monk Ki?”

“Fine.” The intrepid student hesitates.

“Are you here?” the teacher looks across the valley.

“Yes.” Monk Ki states what he thinks is very obvious.

“That is good. Yes, very good. It is important to be here.”

“Where else would I be?” our student stumbles.

“You might be in hundreds of places even though you are here.” The teacher’s hands wave across the horizon. Many places.

Monk Ki like a fish taking the bait shifts. “Where?”

“Many of us are in the past. Many of us are in the future. Both are so vast. We feel such freedom in their greatness.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Harumph. Then I must teach you. Go to town.”

“Master are you sure? I am a student here. I’m not supposed to leave.”

“Who is the teacher? I told you to leave. Now!”



“Can I return?”

“When I tell you. Go.”

Monk Ki turns. “I don’t understand.” But in minutes he goes through the gate.

The town is full of life and motion. People scurry about faster than ants. Everyone seems to be on a mission of importance except Monk Ki. They walk with purpose. They smile. They frown. One or two look sad. Men, women, children all caught in going from one place to another.

Monk Ki gets tired just watching them. “Why did Master Ho Ha send me to town?