Jun 4, 2023
Michael Haggiag

16. On the terrace


Dylan finds the courage to return to the meditation cushion so Jizo gives him some further instructions on meditation.



I find myself back on the terrace again, trying to meditate. Jizo asked me to try again. He said, “Mara has paid you a visit. He’s tracked you down. He’s chosen you!” Jizo said I should regard it as an honour to be challenged by Mara. But I have to face him bravely like a warrior or he will make me his slave forever. 

Jizo moves my meditation mat to the edge of the terrace away from the others. It now faces the river. Right below are more terraces and finally the Thames itself, with all the boats moving up and down. I sit down on the cushion. Jizo makes sure my posture is correct and my eyes half open. He tells me that on no account am I to shut my eyelids, but after last time I don’t need any warning. He shows me again how to make my back straight, how my neck needs to stretch all the way up with my chin tucked in. Down on the mat, I can’t see the other terraces anymore. It seems like I’m sitting on the edge of a cliff looking down on the water from a great height. It makes my tummy feel a bit queezy, but helps me concentrate. I don’t want to fall off the terrace. Jizo tells me just to follow my breath. In and out. In and out.  If I absolutely must move, I should get up and slowly walk up and down the terrace with my eyes down, following my breath, like the Buddha did on the day before his enlightenment. Somehow it works. There are no crazy dreams. My body isn’t used to this strange straight-up way of sitting, but it makes following my breaths easier and gradually I’m relaxing into it. Thoughts are coming up, but they’re nothing special. I wonder how Helen is doing behind me One, two, and how far a leap is it on a skateboard to the next terrace? Wunn… and I feel my left toe pinching my right buttock. Or is it the other way round? Wunnnnn… toooooo…threeeeeee. Wow! I’m getting the hang of this. Wunn…

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