“. . . just a hallucination?”

A couple of weeks ago during lunch with a friend, as we talked about our journeys, she asked me what the experience of meditation was like for me. I explained that some days I am so distracted by concerns about family and friends that I spend most of the time processing problems and trying to clear my mind of life’s distractions. But then other days, when I am more at peace, my mind is clear, and I experience myself filling up with so much love and light that my chest might explode and I feel like I surely must be hovering above the ground where I had been sitting.

Much to my surprise, she quietly asked, “Do you think it’s just a hallucination?”

There was no judgment in her tone, but I looked at her for a long moment as I put aside my fear and tried to assess whether she was looking for a particular answer. Then, speaking from my heart, I gave her the only answer that I have:

“I don’t honestly know . . . .  But I don’t think it matters, because every time I have that experience, I walk away from it being more certain that all of us [gesturing at all the people around the restaurant] are essentially the same.”

By this time, I was crying, and my friend put her hand on my arm as I continued:

“It’s true that we’ve all had different life experiences, but . . . in our hearts, we are the same. We all just want safety and adequate resources for ourselves and those we love, to raise our children in peace, and we want to know that our lives have meaning . . . real meaning that makes it worth experiencing all the crap that we experience as we just try to live our lives.”

Maybe I’m wrong.

Maybe other people really do want something besides just security and meaning.

But that’s what I find in the silence of meditation . . . this idea that if we could live in a place where everyone believed every person’s life has meaning and where every person took seriously the obligation to respect every other person’s need to have security and adequate resources to live simply, but comfortably . . . that would be the messianic era . . . “Heaven on Earth” . . . we could beat our swords into plowshares because there would be no war, and there would be no starvation because we would share whatever resources exist . . . it seems so simple and so beautiful . . .

The Love and Light that fill me up . . . maybe those are just a hallucination . . .

But the world I can imagine, where I live with security (but without material excesses), while surrounded by others who do not doubt that our lives have great meaning . . . that is not a hallucination . . . that’s what my soul needs, and I’m going to find a way to make it reality on whatever scale G-d Wills . . .

shavua tov, jen


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