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Submitted by Rachana Suri on Wed, 6/15/2011, 11:43am
I was telling someone this story the other day and I thought that you all may find it just as interesting. Last year, on one of my retreats I spent a week in Assisi, Italy. If you ever get to Italy this is one town you have to go see, as much as I have traveled, this one is just too picturesque for words. I had been in the retreat for about two days in silence, when I decided to take a walk to the top of the town. The town sits on a mountain and the cobble streets wind up and down the mountain like a picture from a fairy tale book. I took the long walk up in the hot summer heat with the sun beating down on the back of my neck. And just kept walking up and up and up until there was nothing left to walk up to. I wanted to go to the tippy tippy top and I didn’t want to look down at the city until I got there, because I wanted it to be one big surprise. When I finally reached the top, I was overwhelmed by how beautiful all of it was so I immediately to out my camera to begin photographing, I was going to take a course of about twenty or thirty pictures, starting from one side and going all the way around so I would have every inch of my view covered, and then back down for lunch.
But when I took out my camera it was broken. The screen was cracked and I couldn’t turn it on. I wanted to cry, here I am at the most beautiful thing I have ever seen and I can’t even photograph it to look at it later and remember it. Curse me, curse my stupid life. Ugh *&%$# I think that’s about what I said. I was just about to get so angry and something came over me, I just let it all go and said well if I can’t take a picture I am going to have to remember this moment. So I stood there on the top and painted the moment in my head, the fine lines of the buildings below, the colors of the Tuscan Valley, the little chill that was in the air because I had climbed so high, and the smell of dampness after a morning rain. I looked at the people around me and saw each person and imagined their lives. I took the whole moment in, every last bit of it, until there was just nothing left to take in anymore. And I slowly walked back down.
Now I look back at that moment in my mind, and when people say visualize a beautiful place, that’s my beautiful place, I can go back there in mind and it feels like I am still there, it feels so real, because I was able to take the time to take it in and be a part of the moment. The alternative, I would have snapped some shots went home downloaded them, put them on facebook, everyone say wow so pretty and then that would be the end of it.
The irony of where and when the camera broke does not escape me either, at the top of a mountain during a meditation retreat, do you think the universe was trying to tell me something. Because for the first time in my life I savored a moment, I was in the moment, I was everything that was before and after, I wasn’t a spectator anymore.
Its hard to have these moments all the time, we are moving so fast trying to do so many things, we forget to really take in a moment, most of the time we unwittingly let it pass by without so much as a glance, like a mannequin sitting in a movie theater.
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by Alison G