It’s evening time after the commencement of the Sabbath and the candles are lit. Their wax drips within me. Somebody quoted the Buddha: Change is never painful, only the resistance to change is painful. Every Sabbath evening when I light the candles, my heart’s prayers and thanksgivings gather in my chest, standing still, awaiting their turn to ascend to the lips. I focus my gaze like a spotlight on each one of them, and for that minute, or two, I am complete.
I recall a sculpting exercise from my first year: In front of each of us stood a glass of water and a chunk of clay. We had to create a vessel to precisely fit the measure of water. Everybody else’s was too small only mine was large enough, and despite the commendation, for days later I was preoccupied with the question about my inner vessel.
“Something within me is perishing,” I told him one day. His mouth was still, but the body raised itself and turned away from me. In earlier days I would have asked – “where are you going now?”. But that evening I no longer asked. I understood that this is the measure of his vessel, and that as long as I’d listen to the body I’d know the answers faster, and that if I’d insist on the mouth, new wounds would open and acars would start to induce itching. The body left the room, the lips murmured “I have to go out to the garden, to turn off the water sprinklers” and I and my perishing thing stayed in the room, and we already knew this will go on.
That night something strange happened to me. We went to bed distanced. I think that at a certain minute he moved to the living room and only then I fell asleep. I left the body and I was absorbed into a source of light. It was a wonderful sensation, airy and filled with a gentle wholeness. From within this light I watched over everyday scenes. There were people I knew and people I didn’t – some from work interviews, some from the coming of tidings. From my overview, all was of equal value and harmonious, and a sense of wonder filled me over their human responses. For a moment I was able to see things out of the ant’s eye-view. When I woke up in the morning I could barely speak. I went down to the grocery store and a grating sensation surged through me with each pace. One question repeated itself in my head – “what was that?!”. When I raised my eyes I saw a sticker on a parking car: “God is Love”. I smiled and the question within me softened enough so that I could grant the proper attention to the shopping for groceries. Back in the apartment stillness continued between us, each had his reason, each had her point of view.
Many years have passed, and only seldom does this strange incident brushed the dust off of itself and floats to my surface. I told two women about it, and even that was difficult because there were no words to describe all that I’ve experienced. Silence enabled it. But most days, resistance to change raised a wrestling arena within me, over and over again. It seems that I have walked right into fires over and over again, while at the same time searching for spiritual teachers, and other such offers. I had no rival stronger, or more stubborn than myself. I fought my reflection through each person I met, and the bitterest of all battles went on forever.
And then I met him again, the silent one. I don’t know any more if it was in this life or another, it’s all mixed up. On one hand, it seemed that only yesterday I spoke to his back leaving the room, and on the other hand, it felt as if it is the first time I see him. An invisible finger played a cord that was strung between us, and the strum validated its existence. Let’s see you give up all the drama now… All the wrestling arenas gathered together and became one. Pauses that were times of wounding, allowed for some respite, but right afterwards, or perhaps at the same time, the cord was strung between us again and brought us back to face each other, with a smile and relief at first, that turned into a battle arena again in no time. All the spiritual teachers, all the mystics and spiritual guide books, from Judaism to Buddhism, were called to the rescue and failed. Nothing could win the battle and it was impossible to flee from it. From the ant’s eye-view there was no other way, and each of us told and retold the story to ourself. How do I know what the silent one told himself? I saw his back from further and further away, and time and again, his footsteps feeling out his way back. And I too have learned something about silence, so that sometimes in the pauses his gaze would cross with mine and our eyes became one, filled with deep sorrow to the brim and flowing over. And I can’t imagine a vessel large enough to contain it.
The wax dripped down the candles and a breeze played an invisible cord.