There is mystery in all the magic that I can think of. Words are inadequate to describe what is essentially unknowable. They point in a direction, but it is like a finger pointing to the moon.
Yesterday I went down to Navan to visit my dear friend. Words always fail me when I try to describe who she is to me. Spiritual teacher describes the essence of our relationship, but that seems like such a reductive title, one that she would never use herself. She is one of the freest, most honest people I’ve ever met. Fierce and utterly herself she sparkles with the most irreverent humour. Trying to describe what happens when I go to see her is like trying to dissect a fairy.
Her house is a haven, full of warm blankets, candles, bookshelves full of poetry, philosophy, religion, bunches of flowers and boxes of tea. Her garden a gorgeous sweep of wild flowers, cherry trees, hidden buddhas and plant pots, the beds full of worms. The fairies dance there. I know it. We’ve stood under the cherry trees so many times and looked up at the blue sky beyond the blossoms. That is what the mind is like, she tells me. The blue sky.
Time warps when I am there, the present moment seems more intense, I feel like I get drawn into her clarity, into one-pointedness, and I’m watching myself through my own eyes. Everything is now. Words dance through her, her metaphors are alive, they are born and take on a life of their own as she utters them. She is a poet. Before her I never knew Rumi, Rilke, Cohen. So many years have passed since we first met. I am another person now. We’ve walked there along the river. And we’ve watched Cohen together in the rain.
She has taught me to value the cracks. So many teachers she has shared. Pema Chodron, Thich Nhat Hanh, Anthony de Mello, Ramana Maharshi, Joseph Campbell. Their books are like jewels. Yesterday in the words of Thich Nhat Hanh she described meditation as “a non-violent encounter with reality.” Her recommendation to sit quietly is has remained constant over the time I’ve known her. Off and on, off and on, after only 14 years I’ve started to listen. Consistently. To her and myself.
My life has been enriched beyond anything I could ever express by knowing her. She connects me back to the mystery, the poetry of life and refuses any doctrine other than the one that springs from your own heart. She reminds me that what is worth knowing is beyond words.