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  • ...would her world look so patient?


    Ram Dass says we are fingers on the hand of consciousness. Forgetting that base connection, we waggle, raise the finger of self in traffic, crumple open-palmed or claw a tawny field, exhausted. He encourages those who still listen to him, post-stroke, that we can hone awareness--catch that intercession of thought that separates the pinky from the hand. He would eat at the distance.

    It makes sense that a seemingly independent agent might compensate by feeding itself. This teacher who is his own best student caught on to his habits, learned to stay present when his belly stretched with korma. Gradually, he watched the impulse while he was noshing and then caught the flare of desperation before he opened the soy crisps. He didn't stop himself by noticing. Discipline is not everything.

    Looking back at yesterday evening's photo, snapped about an hour before I mouthed off in irritation, I can just make out the shadows drawing around me. I'd like to toss this image. Better yet, never to have seen it. I'd delete it, if it were mine. But the photographer has taught me something about documenting experience. He keeps all his photos archived on multi gig hard-drives. He stores them on principle--knowing himself to be gathering a record of context that is broader than he might recognize.

    What I am beginning to suspect in this moment--drawing my mouth and brow into furrows--is only a shade of awareness. I have some doubt to work with, some suspicion that there was only a minute ago a hand so close it was part of me. I could almost sense it.


    To see the painting I'm referencing in my title, please view Christina's World by Andrew Wyeth.
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