mysterious meseta

When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.

– The Buddha

i have been under for a long time. i have let myself sink into the mystery. the sublime. the meseta. submerged into this seemingly endless stretch of lonely camino that is sometimes referred to as the mind. humility is demanded here. in this landscape, if one is brave enough to travel it, we might come into contact with something rare. big sky mind. now, i am writing this from the other side. these have been long days. and i have to tell you that i have left something there along that road. different than tattered shoes, notions of love and loving, a string of regrets. no, this feels ancient, somehow. running deep. low. the guts. way beyond my understanding. but it is real. i will tell you more, one day. when i understand it. my traveling companion from berlin patiently reminds me that transformation is slow. let it come. let it be.

where am i on my road? time moves in shifts and leaps. and miles. slow and steady. waves of feeling move through me. i have had all the space i need to let my mind roam and ramble. thoughts tumble. i move as if in some strange dream. faces and places enter like clouds against a vast blue sky of infinite stillness. who am i? who have i been. who am i becoming? what is real. what is illusion. what is this truth that i have been looking for? i feel the road dissolve behind me. remembering is difficult. there is nothing i can hold on to now. only move step by step towards the memory of a great sea. i let it all come. i let it all be. what it wants to be. this love. this regret. these promises. longing. feeling. dreams. plans. words. prayers. my humanness. all sink into the earth under my feet. falling away behind me like the gentle wake from an old poet’s wooden boat. image. beauty. a most sweet surrender. i drift. i flow.

i have been here before. in this place. once, under a scorching summer sun. light so fierce and bright it burned even with my eyes squeezed shut. my mind escaped me along this road for the first time.

it was july. my skin burned hot from  blazing sun. lips parched. i sat on the stone bench for a rest. i didn’t know what time it was or even how long i had been walking. i hadn’t seen another pilgrim for hours. it was seductive. i was drifting off. to where, i wasn’t sure. but i was leaving. i tried to pull my consciousness back with some kind of thought. an idea to ground to. an image of someone from my family or a friend. nothing. a memory. nothing would stay. then i started to freak out a little. ‘i have lost my way’ i can remember saying outloud. i have completely lost my way. i repeated this over and over. and then, must have fallen asleep. when i woke, it was as if i had been out for days. i fished a squashed banana from the bottom of my backpack and managed to get myself back on the road again. later, at the albergue, i fell into my bunk and slept a long and dreamless sleep. the next day, the hospitalero drove me to the hospital in leon to check on my foot and maybe my head. but, instead of keeping me for observation, the doctor told me to take a break from the road and drink beer for the next three days. so much for being crazy.

in the hospital elevator, a girl was wheeled in. body small. complexion grey. cancer patient, i thought. she watched me. i shifted nervously in the corner. wild hair and sunburned skin. she must have thought i was from a strange pilgrim carnival. downstairs, i headed as fast as i could for the door. somehow the girl and i came together in the center of the large bustling room. i turned and met her fierce gaze just as she reached out for my hand. she held on tight and wouldn’t let go. she looked me in the eyes and asked me in perfect (and slightly otherworldly) english, ‘are you looking for your way?’

all i could manage was to nod my head and she held my hand a little longer and smiled lovingly. and then, just as suddenly as it had happened, she was wheeled off without another word. in that moment, i had a jolt of energy. i understood somehow that i had in fact, not lost my way. that i was alive. i was awake. i was strong and healthy and on my road. i should enjoy each moment. experience all things fully and deeply. stay out of my mind. live in my heart. simple. all of it.

When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.

later that summer, when i arrived in santiago, i felt at peace. i wandered through the great crowd of people and tucked myself in for the mass at the cathedral. i noticed that across the isle, leaning against a great stone column, a girl was watching me. she was about twelve years old and was near her mother. she seemed familiar to me somehow. and as i looked more closely, i noticed that she was about the same age as the girl in the hospital. she had the same face, but hers pink and healthy. as it should be. i took off the leather cord with the indigo stone attached from around my neck.  i held it in my hand and when she looked my way again, i smiled and handed it to her. her eyes grew wide and she then tilted her head back and laughed and laughed. she didn’t thank me or ask me what it was for. she only held my gaze for a moment and then was lost in the bustling crowd of pilgrims and tourists. i don’t know if this was the same girl. it would be impossible really, if it was. but, i don’t know that it was not. after all, this is a mysterious camino. i don’t question. everything has significance and meaning. well beyond my understanding.

i have known a lot of people to skip the meseta. too boring. too long. nothing exciting or important happens there. but, i can tell you, if you are brave enough. if you can let it come and let it be. the transformation is slow, but it is very, very real. i dare you to enter the fire of this rare landscape. learn another level of compassion. know it for yourself.

ah, humility. ah, the mind. the opportunity to ‘lose it’ and to also find what lies beyond it. to feel this bearable lightness of being. big sky mind. mysterious meseta, indeed.


3 responses

  1. I was lost and now am found. I was never lost, never found. I was found and never lost. Lost and found. Say what? Found what? Lost what? The Sufi clown, looking under the light from the streetlight. Looking for something he lost. Did he lose it there? No, he says. I lost it somewhere else. Why not look there? He replies: because there was no light.

    “These are the only genuine ideas, the ideas of the shipwrecked.”

    Blessings on your journey/non-journey/camino/caminante se hace el camino por andar….

    Elyn (aka, Helen of the Roads)

    18/11/2010 at 17:31

  2. Kathy Gower

    Kim, you make my day…you make my heart feel the earth right now when I’m flying blind….

    amen, and gratitude,

    19/11/2010 at 04:43

  3. Thank you for your beautiful way of sharing the mystical and magical aspects of the Camino. Truly moving and inspiring.

    02/12/2010 at 18:11

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