Ok, ok, that’s what I say . . .
I’m a ‘hermit’, I told myself as I locked my doors, doffed my shoes, loosened my belt, turned off all phones, put my pets outside, and sank to my meditation cushion, happy in my isolation from all busy-ness of the outside world.
My every muscle relaxed. My cushion fit the contour of my body, and I settled in for a long meditation. The day was mine and I was thankful for such bounty.
But as I reached for the Silence, a sliver of a thought entered my mind, reminding me of all the labor needed to give me ‘my’ cushion. The hundreds who planted and cared for the cotton fields, harvested the bolls, by hand or machine, worked in mills to make the cloth and then those needed to design and make the cushion. That still left those who worked to package and ship the cushions to stores to be sold, marketed, and finally there for me to buy.
The profusion of ideas from that one thought held me in an unyieldingly grip, and my mind continued to open and I saw that, ‘hermit’ or not, every morsel of food I eat is also the work of many hands, from tilling, planting, watering, weeding, harvesting and then to the market. Others, certainly not a ‘hermit’ even such as I call myself, took that produce, whether grain, livestock, eggs, juice, or coffee, to process it into edible forms so that I could have my daily bread and my solitude.
I am a ‘Hermit’? I asked myself, and knew my meditation was shattered. Though my body is isolated, I saw that the infrastructure needed to permit my eremitic life, requires many people to maintain. The Ravens which fed the Biblical hermits of centuries ago come nowhere near my door today.
I pondered over the multitude of people needed to simply activate the electrical On/Off switches throughout my home, and in my isolation, how carelessly I had accepted them. I thoughtlessly use my car with no thought of the long odyssey behind the gas and oil, as well as the roads, freeways and sidewalks I use.
My thoughts sped on and I saw how water ‘automatically’ comes to my kitchen, bath and garden with nary a thought of ‘how’, and was reminded of the many unseen hands that make it so, and also those who pick up my garbage or manage the wonderful underground systems of drainage and sewers.
Armies of non-hermits, toil in many horrible, mean, strict, and sometimes illegal places, for long hours, and low pay, to give me the freedom to choose my solitude. What horrible price is often needed to sustain my ‘hermit’ life style, and I was suddenly confronted with the terrifying thought of, “What have I ever done to deserve such bounty?”
In a world entirely held together by Reciprocal Maintenance, I was faced with the sobering question of, “What am I doing to balance the toil and labor of others which I, so thoughtlessly, have used for support?” And was startled to be aware of how my wayward mind had ‘taken over’ my meditation.
For even as I quelled in my shame, that sliver of thought opened again, and I knew that it wasn’t my wayward mind, but that some Hidden Power had tapped me on my shoulder to show me that no matter that we all walk different pathways, that God can be served in any pathway given us.
And, almost with a chiding smile, I was shown that the Meditation was not mine. Mentally I have said “My meditation. My life of solitude. My home. My cushion. My thoughts. My time.” Everything said or thought, was mine, mine, mine, mine. The smile gently showed me it was God’s meditation. God’s life. God’s time. God’s cushion. God’s relaxation. And whether God’s time is spent in the ‘counting house’, a monastery Cell, prison cell, or loved home, matters naught, for, even as we strive to serve Him, it always was and always will be, Service to God.
I was shown there is no difference, and then, as I sat on God’s cushion, God’s peace, and God’s meditation in God’s time, was given me, and I knew that workers, on every or any pathway, relaxed and were blessed. There is no difference, and I Thank God for showing me that nothing is mine. It’s All God’s, and so am I.