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Lions Roar : September 2014
Park at the edge of a frozen lake. I parked the van and walked into the forest, fell to my knees, and rested my forehead on the frozen earth. I told myself that I’d stay here in this vast forest until I could sit still. Why can’t human beings sit still? We sit down, but the momentum in our bodies is still racing, scared. I wanted to know what was underneath that. I wanted to know what was underneath my thinking. When I was ten years old, I swam in South Tea lake in Algonquin Park. I dove into the cool lake and when I came through the surface and opened my eyes, I was staring into the eyes of a loon. We’d both surfaced at exactly the same time. We w e r e face-to-face. In the background there was sky and forest, and in the loon’s eyes there was black and gold. Then the loon ducked its beak straight down and disappeared into the black lake. Now I was in Algonquin Park again, in the middle of winter. I slept in the van during the day because I was scared of freezing at night. When the sun disap- peared into the trees I’d practice sitting meditation, then I’d walk through the trees in the dark. In March, the sound of cracking ice on the frozen lakes is exactly like thunder. I listened to that thunder day in and day out for two months. Paul New- man’s beautiful eyes and the eyes of that loon were all mixed up with each other. I was learning to sit still. I stayed in Algonquin Park for eight months and didn’t speak with my family or friends for an entire year. I wrote post- cards to Paul but never sent them. I put his photo next to the little Buddha I had on the dashboard. The nights were lit by a dry moon, hanging up there over the frozen bogs, and I was oblivious then to what the wild was doing to me. I wondered if there was a way of going through loneliness to a sense of being alone without feeling alone. There are things you can’t think your way into. After eight months in the park I returned to Toronto, got a job at a bakery, and started studying yoga and Buddhism more formally. Paul and I never spoke again. ♦ SHAMBHALA SUN FOUNDATION An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. Own the Art that Wakes You Up VISIT THE SHAMBHALA SUN ONLINE STORE www.shambhalasun.com ENJOY OUR EXPANDED collection of dharma art in beautiful archival quality giclée prints. Taken from the pages of our magazines, ten beautiful new pieces are now available for your home or office, including calligraphies by Thich Nhat Hanh and Buddhist- inspired works by Impressionist Odilon Redon. Wakes You Up (Above) Enso by Kazuaki Tanahashi SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2014 72