The ghost of the old guru came to me as a mourning dove, plump on the branch outside my window. The dove’s hollow pan flute sound felt so near and tangible it seemed I could have pinched the notes with my fingers. My bristling soul began to be soothed and my mind turned to see what was going on. The dove cooed, “Inquire within, ‘Why the tears?’” And in the shock of the dove telling and me asking, the movement of my mind ceased altogether, and I was left in the moment at hand to function without it. And without it I could find no good reason for sadness, for tears.
I looked at the dove with wonder. He fluffed his feathers, cocked his head and squinted at me. “Thank you,” I said aloud. And he flew away. I stared out the window after him in blissful silence, the glowing, brilliant colors of joy oozing out of the tree branches, the leaves, out of every cell my body, out of my chair, my desk, the walls, the pictures on the walls.
Then my mind began to sputter and whir. I felt it wobble and persist and pick up speed. And as soon as it was spinning full tilt, it realized I had been visited by what it perceived as the spiritual realm. At first it was all bustling and flustered like an old crone incensed that someone had shown up on the doorstep unannounced. Then it rushed ecstatic toward its logbook to jot down every tittle of detail so as to be able to recount this prodigious event at every appropriate future opportunity. Then it slammed down its pen and turned in my direction, “You!” is all it could say, it was so inflamed with anger.
The realization had dawned on it that I had done nothing to revive it during the whole dove scene, and it began its menacing posturing. I remained unruffled. I saw no need to provoke it further by telling it how utterly and inconceivably pleasant and vividly beautiful and peaceful everything had been in its absence. Admitting to my mind that I consider its chattering, extracurricular thinking the cause of the majority of my unhappiness would only bring it a sick sense of joy and accomplishment. So I just smiled and went back to what I’d been doing before my mind had interjected its tearful thoughts.
“What are you doing?” it asked sharply.
“The work I brought home from the office,” I said.
Hearing this, my mind became comically enraged. It scrambled awkwardly, Quasimodo-like, to the very top of my head just so it could holler downward, “Hellooooo! I thought you understood when I told you that you shouldn’t have to do that. If you can’t get your work done at the job site, then the job’s not right for you and you simply need to find another more suited to you!”
I just shrugged and continued working.
By now my mind could barely stand the disregard I was showing for the control it was trying to exert on my behalf, and it upped its holler to a desperate screeching, “Did you not hear a thing I said before? What about your dreams? You unwitting fool, your life is passing you by at light speed!”
I didn’t flinch. “No it’s not,” I said, and kept on working. “This is exactly what I’m supposed to be doing in this moment.”
“WHAT?“ my mind about blew a rad hose. “Pray tell how you figure that!”
“It has to be,” I said, “If I was supposed to be doing something else, I’d be doing it.”
My mind was so exasperated, so balled up with that ridiculously illogical, ungraspable concept that it almost stopped again. Its fierce, hot rage is all that kept it from freezing mid-thought. Its determination not to allow its guard to be dropped ever again is all that kept it from popping like a soap bubble and disintegrating into nothingness. It was powerless to say more. It was done for the time being.
I continued with my work and my mind skulked off muttering something about keeping an eye out for the guru bird and how by god nothing would go unnoticed around here going forward from this very point in time. I smiled to myself and felt the colorful glow come up again. This was the first time I’d ever won.
After that incident my mind continued to maintain a strict guru bird vigil. It perched atop its steely watchtower overlooking its self-made stalag, a figurehead in denial. The guru did show up again, on many occasions, whenever he was needed, wherever I happened to be, but my mind could never make it all the way through a visit. It was clearly wearing down with the continual defeat, and after awhile became possessed only with knowing why the guru continually chose the form of a mourning dove. My mind insisted I ask the next time the bird showed up. And again, in the asking I could see that the guru is not a ghost, not a separate entity, but the still, ever-present silence within me that is unaffected by circumstances. It’s the thing that keeps me afloat when I don’t care if I drown and lifts me high whenever I can see the possibility of flight and open myself to it.
The photo of Osho came from his library site when I had access to it. I’m using it without crediting or permission. Osho wouldn’t give a rats ass about crediting and permission, anyway.
The mourning dove was snagged from http://www.dnr.state.wi.us/org/land/wildlife/images/hunt/dove/dove.jpg
The meditating monk with his third eye looking at a feminine eye above him is something I drew a couple of years ago for a website. I later adopted the feminine eye as my avatar.
The above was spun off the Sunday Scribblings prompt “#120 – ghosts.” Click here for more on prompt #120 from other Sunday Scribblings participants.