Saturday, October 13, 2012

Remembering openness

I took this picture several days ago, and kept thinking about posting it here: it's quite an unusual boat, and the reflections are lovely -- it seems to have all the ingredients of a pleasing photograph.

But something about it doesn't feel right.  Not that it's not good, but it doesn't communicate the sort of thing I look for in a photograph.  And this morning, in the process of meditation, I figured out why.

Now let me back up a bit and say that in yesterday's meditation the name of an old boyfriend came to me, someone I had dated back in high school -- my first real boyfriend, the one I dated just before I met my first husband -- someone I hadn't thought of in years.

So I googled him, and it turns out he has a PhD in neuroscience and lives a very short ferry ride away -- astonishing, actually, since when we met (at Dartmouth Summer School) he lived in Palo Alto and I lived in Chicago.  And as I looked at his picture on the internet, even though he's 45 years older than when I saw him last, I could see the boy he had been, and felt this sort of internal softening -- a bit worrisome, actually, given that I am a happily married woman!

But, thinking about that in today's meditation (yes, I THINK during meditation.  I know I'm supposed to be all off somewhere, but thoughts do have a way of filtering in!) I realized that  I was not so much remembering him as remembering me; the me I was before my disaster of a first marriage, the sadness and the baggage that it left me with; the me that was open, and trusting, and in love for the first time with someone who loved me back; the openness and innocence of that time.

And how would you picture that? I wondered... and then I understood: THIS is why pictures like this one on the right are so much more appealing to me.  Even if the boat is old and dirty; even if it leaks a little, it's OPEN.  There is an invitation here; an invitation to step in, to set out, to embark on an adventure and trust. And at the same time there is a reflection, a self-awareness, a receptivity, a steadiness to it.

In a way these little boats are the me that was, and the me I long to be again, the open and trusting and loving me that meditation helps to resurrect out of the detritus and confusion that experience and disillusionment can bring over the course of a lifetime.

So I particularly appreciated this quote from Frank Zappa that I read this morning in Goldie Hawn's book, 10 Mindful Minutes: "The mind is like a parachute.  It only works when it's open."  And now I understand that, at their best, my images seem to have that same quality...

1 comment:

Bouree said...

Great post...but the best ones are always when we share something of ourselves. :-)