The Newcomer

Musing opens windows to the mind

by Frances Potts

Meditation used to be the 5 a.m. kick start to my day. It set the tone for my work day. Now that I'm retired, I sleep away those early hours, and tend to muse instead of meditate.

Now, some people would agree with my Webster's pocket dictionary that musing and meditation are the same thing. I beg to differ.

As any dyed-in-the-wool meditator knows, meditation requires a disciplined sitting posture, outstretched hands and an empty mind. Musing can be done in my recliner in a full, flat-out position.

However, an empy mind does help.

In fact, the emptier the better. Some of my best musing takes place just before I drift off into my afternoon nap. It's then that it might occur to me that I have never read a Harry Potter book, not one. And as I awaken, still in a slightly foggy state, my musing picks up where it left off, and I realize I've not only never read a Harry Potter book but, in the face of all the hype over the latest one, I'm glad I haven't.

Musing opens all kinds of little windows in my mind. The glass slides up and a thought drifts in as if on a vagrant breeze: Wouldn't mankind have been better off if we'd been created with heads that swivel 360 degrees and sit directly on our shoulders? Sure would cut down on neck aches.

Then that window slides down, only to allow another to pop open: Wouldn't issuing two tubes of toothpaste with every marriage license be a peace-keeping move? Or maybe it should just be a law that a man who squeezes toothpast from the bottom of the tube cannot marry a woman who squeezes from the top. Maybe compatability is that easy to determine.

Clunk. Window closes. Clink. Window opens: What about all these laws we already have. . .are they really necessary? Wouldn't just one do the trick, if that one was "love one another"?

That led me to muse about a legend I heard about in Turkey from a tour guide when I was visiting Ephesus, the city in which, they say, St. John lived and died.

As the guides tell it, a great crowd gathered because it had been announced that John, a renowned speaker and companion of Jesus, was to give a sermon. Now a feeble, old man, John was carried among them on a pallet. When the crowd grew quiet, he raised up, looked out over the people and said, "Love one another". Then he repeated, "Love one another". A third time he said to them, "Love one another". And laid back on his pallet and signaled to be carried away.

The people began to mutter and then proclaim loudly, "If the old man can no longer preach, why do they bring him to us?"

Slow learners.

Have we grown any smarter in 2000 years?

This musing can get to be heavy stuff, if I let it, but I try to keep it light. Thumping on the hand drum I made myself from a chunk of cowhide, a wooden hoop, leather thongs and a few beads seems to help. Bom,, bom. Bom,, bom.

The windows of my mind start banging open like crazy. Swinging to and fro, up and down, even twirling in that clever, revolving way the windows in Germany do so you can clean the outside of a window from inside your house. A clever, organized, anal-retentive country, Germany. . .

Bom,, bom. Bom,, bom.


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