A Play of Life and Light
by James Cohee

Rama's Mahasamadhi, 2000



As we drove northward I began to notice the dark clouds coming in from the west. The wind came up as we approached the canyon and the temperature began to fall. A storm rolled across the Colorado Plateau, and the weatherman predicted snow for tomorrow. Fifteen of us had gathered here at sunset on the south rim of the Grand Canyon to celebrate the spring equinox. As our leader began to speak the cold wind blew the last of the tourists back toward the parking lot and we found ourselves alone in a spot frequented by millions of tourists a year. It seemed as though eternity had decided to give us this opportunity to meditate in solitude and peace at this place of power.

So we each picked a spot and began to meditate. But tourists who travel for thousands of miles to see the Grand Canyon are not easily thwarted by a little cold weather. Like pilgrims to a holy shrine, a little physical discomfort would not quickly deter them. Soon a busload of Asian tourists descended upon us. They circulated amongst our still forms quietly taking pictures and talking amongst themselves. They did not speak to me but I could feel their surprise. Americans were meditating on the rim of the Canyon. Such a thing they might see in their homeland but here in America?

Soon they moved on and the American tourists came back. For a time a couple of young men sat next to me and chatted about the beauty of the place. One of them lost a candy wrapper and it caught on my bag. I picked it up and carefully handed it back. He was sincerely apologetic for having disturbed me. They moved on and another couple came with their small daughter. I could feel the girl's questioning glances. The couple was clearly going to have to explain what I was doing but they didn't seem to mind. I reached out to the young girl with my heart and for a few minutes we shared beauty, love and stillness. They moved on and two young adults arrived and began amusing themselves right on the edge. They were within my field of vision but they did not distract me.

I sat there for nearly an hour. During that time many people touched my aura and walked across my field of vision. But it was okay. We had all become part of the play of life on the canyons' rim. Somehow the tourists, the Buddhists and the canyon had all become one. We had become a part of the natural course of events and an opportunity for all to learn from each other. We touched each other and each, to his own measure, learned from the others. It was a beautiful moment.


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