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Sitting in Your Own Peace

I was taking one of those long, fourteen-hour, transpacific flights. The plane left in the evening and was chasing the darkness across the globe. So, I guess, wherever it was we were flying, it was night. The window shades were pulled down, the cabin lights were off, and everyone in my cabin had their seats in full flat-out bed position and they were sleeping. It was about halfway through the flight, and I woke up thirsty, so I moved up to the crew section to request a water. As I pushed back the curtains, I notice a female crew member, sitting in her crew chair, in this small hallway that connected the two main aisles to each side of her. I glanced her direction and I immediately saw she was awake but was just sitting there with a wall just a few inches in front of her. She was awake. Her eyes were open. She was completely aware, but she was totally still. She sat there in a state of unmoving fully aware silence, meditatively staring at the wall in front of her. Aware but in a state of absolute peace. I was awe struck.
 
There is the meditative practice in Zen Buddhism known as Wall Gazing. It is sometimes referred to as, “Bìguān.” In one of the legends it is told that the great sage Bodhidharma performed this practice for nine years before finding his ultimate pathway to the truth.
 
This meditation technique is one of the most basic, yet most useful forms of centering the mind and reaching a meditative state of consciousness, while not following the more traditional path of meditation where the eyes are close. It is performed by simply sitting in front of a wall, isolating a point on that wall, focusing on it, and allowing your mind to meditatively become silence. That focal point on the wall is where your consciousness is placed. Whenever your mind wanders, you bring your focus back to the place on that wall.
 
There she was, this stewardess. One would not generally think of a stewardess as a Zen Masters. But, in essence, why not? She was in the midst of doing her job, but she was in a state of meditative mindfulness. How profound is that?
 
I believe that few of us can achieve that level of peace while we are in the middle of doing our job. Most, are wrapped up in the game, whatever that game may be, and are thinking about The Doing.
 
As we all understand, very few people care about the true depth of meditation, on any level, all they think about is the Out There. But, contemplate this, if you can be so Self Aware that even in the midst of doing your job you can find that place of still and peace within yourself, how much more pure would your life become? How much clearer would your mind be in the realms of true reality? Yes, most are driven to Do in their job. They think about what they are doing, or they are thinking about anything else, but they are thinking, they are not, what I like to call, Peace Aware. From this, all life is lived defined by the churning movement of The Doing. But, in that Doing, no peace or enlightenment will ever be known.
 
I believe we can all find inspiration from this young stewardess; doing her job but able to sit in peace as it is being done.
 
Remember this story. Try it. Sit down in the chaos of whatever it is you are doing and embrace the silence, know the peace. From this, the divine grace of true meditation may be known and, you never know, you may find an entirely new way to encounter reality.
 
She looked up at me. I asked if I could have a water. She told me she would get it for me and bring it to my seat. A few moments later, she did.
 
I didn’t have any way to verbalize my feelings towards her and how inspirational her meditative actions were. But, if nothing else, perhaps I can spread them out to you, where you may learn from them and possibly find a new and better way to encounter life.  Wherever you find yourself, sit in your own peace.