Psalm 86

I call to You all day long (86:3)

Years ago I met a man named Ken Wells, who used to sit at a table in the front window of a vegetarian restaurant named Gaia’s. Because I saw him every time I went there, morning or afternoon, I thought he owned the place. One day I struck up a conversation with him and found out that he was a local artist and a Buddhist, but he did not in fact own the restaurant. I admired his work, which I found flowing and whimsical, at a couple of bagel places where he was commissioned to do murals on the walls. Ken was my primary source of information on meditation, years before I did any serious learning from Jewish sources.

I invited him to be the primary speaker at an interfaith Thanksgiving service that was held at the synagogue. His message included a reference to his personal meditative practice in which he strove to spend the entire day, every waking moment, in a state of meditation.

At the time, I didn’t know what that meant. My mental image of meditation was of a person sitting in a quiet space emptying his mind of thoughts. How can you drive, have conversations, engage in business, or create art, with an empty mind? Over time I learned more about meditation and began to understand what he meant. Meditation is a “I call to you all day long” experience of being connected and aware of the Divine Presence at every moment. When speaking to another person while in a meditative state, you have total focus on that person and what she is saying as a manifestation of the Divine Image. Safe driving requires a meditative-like awareness of your surroundings and complete focus on the task at hand. Creating art, creative writing, and even engaging in business require a mind which is at once completely focused and at the same time open to unexpected ideas, a state of mind which can existed in meditation.

Thank you Ken Wells, of blessed memory, for sharing this insight with me years before I had the capacity to understand it.

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