Sometimes we have to work hard to establish a connection with the unknown, be it a person, a place, or a situation. Sometimes, less often, the unknown reaches out to us, demanding that a connection be made. We can ignore it, or we can work with it, to let whatever it is find us. I’ve been thinking about that, today.
Some years ago, I went on a trip to Thailand with my friend S. I was meditating regularly at the time, and my mind was clear and open (for me, at least). As the day of departure drew near, a certain knowledge took root in my mind. I knew, like I knew my own name, that in Bangkok I was going to find a statue of Buddha, one that would be unique, and special importance to me.
We arrived in Bangkok, and found rooms in a cheap hotel in Bangalamphu. That evening, we took a stroll down Khao San Road. As we went, I noticed a small hole-in-the-wall shop, apparently selling statues. As I saw it, I knew that my statue was inside, so I asked S. if we could go in.
Inside, the shop was packed, floor to ceiling, with shelves full of statues, of all kinds of styles, subjects and sizes. S., being a friendly type, was soon happily chatting with the sales attendant, while I roamed around, looking for the statue I could sense was there. My attention was increasingly drawn to one particular area, but I couldn’t see anything interesting. I paced back and forth, and eventually triangulated on one specific spot on the floor. I stood there, but I still couldn’t see anything. In my mind, though, the sense of connection was blaring like a klaxon. Whatever I was looking for, it was there, and it was trying to show itself to me.
So, I tried to clear my mind, and to really see what I was looking at. Lo and behold, behind a larger statue, I could just barely make out a small part of something else, a smaller statue. Whatever it was, this was it.
It was so well-hidden, I had to get the assistant to get a ladder to extract it for me.
It turned out to be a beautiful seated Buddha, carved in a Burmese style. It radiated calm and detachment. I’ve never seen another one like it. I still have it.
How could all of this happen? How did a statue of Buddha establish that connection with me across time and space, so that I could tangibly feel it and use it navigate across a city, around a crowded shop, like a beacon in my mind? Science, to the extent that it’s currently in, couldn’t explain it – but I assure you, it was real.
I’m sharing that story because it’s so specific, but I want to use it to explain my life. As I felt that statue calling me from far away, for most of my life I’ve felt something in my future calling me. I haven’t known what it was. I still don’t. But, just as I felt myself being narrowed down to one shop in Bangkok, then to one spot within that shop, by a future connection that was demanding to be made, so I feel that I’m finally narrowing it all down. So many pieces have fallen into place.
Time, perhaps, to clear my mind again, to let the future show me where it is.
How about you?