This morning I took my eldest to the doctor’s surgery. Nothing serious, just a small lump that I felt was worth eliminating as a concern, and the lovely doctor did just that.

Our lovely doctor. She is, in my experience so far, one of a rare breed. She makes you feel like she has the rest of the day for you, as though there weren’t a long line of other people outside waiting for her attention. She gives you time to think, asks lots of relevant and searching questions, looks at the big picture.

In short, she’s fabulous.

So it would be pretty churlish to complain about the fact that her appointments are always late, sometimes as much as an hour… or more. After all, if one is grateful to receive that kind of personal and unpressured attention, it’s hardly fair to begrudge others now, is it?

Which is a long-winded way of explaining that we had both brought our books with us. Humphrey is reading something suitably boy-ish and I have, on my iPod, a Kindle book entitled: Thai Meditations – an introduction to Buddhism and Mindfulness by James Alexander.  I bought it a while ago, started reading it, failed to become engaged and put it on the backburner. I think my reality had not yet caught up with my intention. It’s funny how that happens, isn’t it? We’re not quite ready for something, but we somehow intuit that at some point we will be. Well, today was the day.

It’s a lovely book, full of little anecdotes and Buddhist tales, little bite-sized chunks to jolt your heart and mind awake. I am going to quote the relevant one verbatim, as I feel it warrants it.

Roi Et
A young widower away on business returns to his village to find his seven year old son missing.

When the body of a young boy is recovered from a lake, the widower assumes that it is the body of his son, who has in fact really been kidnapped by bandits.

The father arranges the funeral, and grieves the death of his son as he had the loss of his wife.

Eight days later his real son, having escaped his captors, returns to the house and knocks on the door.

The father does not believe it is his son and tells the boy to go away.

Sometime, somewhere, you take something to be the truth.

If you cling to this too much, even when the truth comes in person you will not open the door to it.

When Humphrey read it, he looked up at me and said: “That’s sad.” His interpretation was, of course, literal. But when we discussed it further, talked about how we can make up our minds about something to such a strong and insistent extent that we become entirely blind to the truth, the message of the story found its way home.

Even the most innocuous ideas that we have absorbed or formed as part of our story here on this planet warrant a question or two from time to time, so how much more important is it to investigate positions we have taken that are, at best, extreme?

Once again, a few well-chosen words have set mind and heart fizzing. Isn’t it an incredible thing, to be alive.

And awake?


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