The two pics above are of pretty much the same thing – the demolition site of what once was a Perkins restaurant. I’m writing about this because it’s the first place my husband and I exchanged I-Love-Yous. In fact, not far at all from this location is the place we met for our first date. (Marsh parking lot – we went to the far west side of Indy to a Mexican restuarant for dinner that night.) I couldn’t tell you how many times we ate at this Perkins, but it wasn’t often. We would go there only occasionally with friends or something… the last time I was there, I went alone and had quite an interaction with a homeless man. Regardless of how much or how little we went to that place to eat, it would always stand out in my mind because of that one dinner we shared.
We were both so young – in our early 20s! Both of us were skinnier and both of us had far longer hair and we were both far more naive and emotional, and unexpectedly in love. I think neither of us expected to feel toward the other the way we did. But we went with it. I recall meeting him in the parking lot that night – the weather was warm so it had to have at least been autumn but was probably early summer. It was late enough that the sky had already darkened – which for Indiana spring / summer / autumn means after 8:30pm. We parked next to each other and when he got out of his car he held a small stuffed animal and a rose as presents for me. I couldn’t have cared less about the stuffed animal, but flowers have been / are / always will be my favorite gift to receive. I remember thinking it was so sweet of him… I had no idea that these gifts were a sign of how our dinner would go.
We were seated, and I think we had ordered, and were sitting talking to each other while holding hands across the table – something we’re not likely to do now (you tend to outgrow that kind of juvenile stuff as you age together. It’s still nice and fun but feels less necessary once you know the other isn’t at risk to run away). Holding my hands across the table, he was suddenly quite nervous. He was so timid and kinda quiet and said, “I love you.”
And I froze.
And then he cried. Before I knew it, I had upset him. Without making a huge scene, he cried openly right there and made it clear, “I said it because thought you would say it, too!” Seeing pain in others has always been jarring to me and made for a quick call to attention. I snapped out of my frozen state and returned with, “I love you, too” and then tried to explain why my response was tardy. Things were smoothed out, the night moved on and so did our lives together.
As long as I live, all dementia and Alzheimer’s aside, I’ll always remember that night and that Perkins location. My ex and I were together for 7 years and he was my first (and only other) real relationship and I couldn’t tell you the how or when of our first I-Love-You. But I’ll never forget that evening with Wayne. It’s quite an impression I carry.
Heartfulness / Sahaj Marg is a meditation practice which is supplemented by a “cleaning” practice. Our cleaning and meditation do much for removing impressions that are sticking around long after they should. To be clear, removing burdensome impressions doesn’t mean forgetting. Events in our lives (inclusive of the words and sounds and sights and feelings, etc… that make up those events) are never necessarily good or bad, but we categorize them as good or bad based on our temperament and outlook and other influences like culture and language and religion. Because of those influences, and the resultant categories we create in our minds, we carry impressions. And so, dinner with my husband isn’t just that – even though it really is JUST that. Because of the aforementioned influence, I assign a category and lots of associated importance or … whatever … to something that simply and naturally just is. The real tragedy here is that letting something be as it is is far more beautiful than any significance our minds and concoct.
So we make mountains out of molehills and, as you can understand, mountains are far tougher to carry – thus our store of samskaric impressions. To further illustrate this, there’s a story about a woman and two Buddhist monks. The two monks were traveling by foot when they came to a stream or river where a woman was fretting about crossing. She wasn’t able to cross the water … for some reason I now forget – maybe because she didn’t want her clothes to get wet or something. So one of the monks picked her up and carried her over the water, to the other side. The two monks then continued their journey. Some miles down the road, the second monk couldn’t keep it in anymore and verbally lashed out at the first monk – scolding him for his nerve to touch a woman, let alone carry her, and yelled at him for compromising his monkhood at the risk of lust, breaking vows, etc… To all of this, the first monk (who had carried the woman) responded simply with,”Brother, are you still carrying that woman? I put her down miles ago!”
I don’t need that Perkins location to remain standing for my husband’s love to be real or valid, or nor the same for my love of him. But, quite ridiculously, there’s a part of me that feels offended at the demolition. That’s an impression that needs to go and, thankfully, through my Heartfulness practice of meditation and cleaning I’ll eventually be successful in releasing that impression. After all, any love that is stuck to a landmark from 12 years ago is a dead love, and no love I care for.
Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti