The wind had been gathering all day and I knew a big system was about to roll through. I didn't mind though, since my favorite part about any thunderstorm has always been the slow broil of darkening clouds, the coolness of the rising wind, and the smell of rain, the promise of life. I feel truly united with nature, like a gnat caught in a twisting nether of coffee, about to be consumed, unnoticed, one with the milky blackness, and then one with the body consuming, gone and still eternal.
The rain began its slow probing volleys against my window, taps for a tired mind. I drifted off into slumber. Then, like 500kg car bomb, a searing brightness ripped through my forehead, pulling behind it the slap of a blast wave and the instant recognition of my own impermanence. In my mind, I was momentarily a fine pink mist, gently alighting upon my bed, forming a red angel on the sheets. Again, impermanence blasted me back from formlessness into a body, pulsing, mist returning to blood and bone, my heart echoing the thunder outside. Duck and cover drill pasted itself on my reflexes, and found only emptiness where a bunker should be. A grown man, curling up like a fetus, I reached for my wife and pulled her bodhisattva peace into my belly and I entrenched my head between her shoulders, finding life, until the war passed away.
Meditating on this experience, it occurs to me that even still, even after a long and deep immersion in the dharma,
I am still mending, still processing. What practice has taught me is to respect the process of healing. I used to feel physical pain at any unexpected loud noise. It was like getting hit in the head with a sledge hammer. Over time, these episodes diminished in intensity, and now only appear in space separated by long intervals of time. I have learned to address them now as bodhisattvas of impermanence, doorways to awakening, like a zen master holding a big stick, they point to my true nature.
With my palms together, I bow three times.