I’m simply trying to buy a pillow and I am caught in the embrace of this man’s presence. At first I think it’s his eyes that capture me, and then maybe the serene way he moves, his body fluid and light, and then maybe the voice so gentle on the air. I must stay here and learn more — about this pillow.
Don’t get me wrong: this is not a sexual attraction.
It’s something more profound, this feeling that touches my heart, this sense that I am standing beside a truly lovely human being and so of course, I want to stay. But I’m in the middle of the Portland Saturday Market, and the sun has brought hordes of us out on this early March day. I’m stealing time from others who jostle to get into his booth, who stand not-so-patiently fondling the pillows and making pointed digs into their purses for their wallets. We sit on the floor, me trying out his meditation pillows, he helping me with my seated posture and the positioning of my sit-bones on the pillow.
How to make the most of this pillow that hugs the body while one meditates— that’s the conversation we are having. I’m listening, but I am also exploring his spirit, silently and behind the sounds of our voices. I know this though I am certain no one else knows; our talk encircles us, revolving around pillows and postures and bent knees.
I’m touched by this spirit in front of me and I am also, on an intellectual level, gyrating through deductions and analysis. What makes a person appear to be so serene? How did he come to be where he is, and is he where he seems to be in this universe? I hope he is.
I want to know that there are people who live lives of profound tranquility.