Antecedent

I sit down on my cushion resolved to explore my inner landscapes. I focus on my breathing. I keep my inhales short and exhale as slowly as possible. I begin to imagine the source of my breathing as my life force.

It radiates with each breath out and passes through everything around me. As it extends out into the world, I think about all of the people it goes through. I think how, like me, they are more than their bodies. Can their selves be found in any discrete physical structure? I imagine the realities they experience. As my breath touches seemingly lifeless objects, I imagine their realities, their consciousness.

Now I am sitting on a bank of my river. I am nestled between the rises of two undulating roots, my back resting against the trunk of this huge banyan. I see a boy seated cross-legged on a leaf in the water across from me. Can he see me here in the shade? Yes! I hear him, we, me. We are talking, though it is not verbal, and each meaning dissolves as soon as it is perceived. I am left only with a beckoning feeling.

I jump in and swim. He takes my hand and helps me up the opposite bank. He leads me towards the woods. They feel safe, like shelter. An image of Saint Francis flashes in my mind, and a cross rises above the trees. There is something white in the distance, a chapel. We approach. There is a garden to the right and a graveyard to the left. Both are overgrown with weeds. We climb the stairs to the door and enter.

Towering over us, curved and imposing, is a gigantic mural of Jesus. I recognize it as the same painting that was above the altar in the church of my youth. Sure enough, Jesus has the same funny look on his face that I remember; like he finds it all very amusing. We peered at each other and asked the same question: Who first?

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