Thursday, April 3, 2014

Candle & I

Last night I sat down in front of a candle, lit it and stayed there staring for a while. I had awoken earlier with a maddening itch on my chin, worried about bedbugs. Can it be, was I bit ? I can't tear the bed apart now searching for a clue. Once awake at two in the morning, with an itch unexplained, it's hard to get back to sleep. I was self consciously scratching my face to no avail. If I were to stay in bed I would annoy my partner so I got up and went to the other room.
    I sat down in a chair that is proving comfortable day in and day out. I read a bit. The chapter in the book I've been slowly getting through was on meditation. It stated how beneficial the practice is. Science agrees. One portion mentioned how a particular researcher meditates on the job by focusing intently on the task at hand. I realized that as I read I was elsewhere, thinking of dropping everything and trying to sit still for a few minutes. I got back to the task at hand, which was reading, and continued until the end of the chapter.
    To think about how you have to go to the bank on the way to the post office is a condition that has plagued me to no end for many years. I'm not where I am. I fidget and scratch. Sitting still is difficult. I toss and turn, pull the sheets, move about, sigh and grunt. Chairs are bothersome. It takes effort to eat slowly, breathe consciously, be here now. Reading, I anticipate finishing the book and putting it down. My eyes drift to the bottom of the paragraph, the end of the page. Relaxing is not so. I cross the house to fetch a glass of water that I drink most of a second from the sink. I go back and fill it up. I reach my seat with a sip left in my cup. Repeat.
    I was reading about meditation and had to stop myself from ditching the book to meditate. Not a bad thing that, but let me at least try to read presently. I'll meditate later. I finished the chapter and, calmly, with intent and resolve, sat down on a soft spot, the babies lamb skin, and put a beeswax candle on the floor in front of me. I lit it and stared. I stayed there. I was there. Sure, my thoughts drifted. Who cares, let them drift. Don't catch them, don't turn them into stories, let them sail away. I was surrounded by plants and the sounds in the alley stopped as I started in earnest.
    The liquid on the skin of my eyes played light shows off the flame. It took me several slow unknown movements of time for me to creak my eyelids open so no light flickered or danced. The flame stood stock still. I stared. We sat locked into each other, that candle and I. The flame did not move. I kept my eyes in that position. I breathed deep. I let the images swim by. I didn't scratch my jaw. I relaxed. Two thirty in the morning, woken from sleep by a minor annoyance.
    I felt peaceful, not tired. My waking was of some good. I went back to bed with nothing itching and I slept. In the morning I had no new spots to scratch and no welts to worry over. I thought, I will sit in front of a candle again.