Sometimes I feel like I’ve lost my way.
The last few weeks of the most recent semester, I spent my free time hidden from my classmates and friends, fighting to make certain I would pass my classes and wondering if I’d made the right decisions. Now I’m taking advantage of the summer break.
I wake to the roaring tide outside the window of my little house where I’ve chosen to spend the month. It’s a peaceful place on a cliff overlooking the ocean, making it easier to work on the meditations Teacher assigned as homework.
I never feel alone here. Maybe it’s the butterflies that greet me every morning or the deer that roam the edges of the forest that is my backyard. Or maybe it’s that when I think of him, Teacher is here.
Today, the dragonfly in purple and blue is waiting for me on the soft purple hydrangea bushes outside the kitchen door.
“Good morning, dear one.” I love it when he calls me that. “Would you like to take a short walk with me?”
When I nod, the dragonfly becomes the teacher I remember from my university classes, tall, long-limbed with a hint of a crew cut under his chosen cap. Today, he’s wearing a bright purple T-shirt and matching baseball cap over his brilliant blue eyes. The outfit is completed by a pair of blue khakis.
“Where are we going?” I wonder if my shorts and Birkenstocks will be alright.
“We’re looking for the clearing in those woods behind your house,” he says. “You will be fine as you are.”
As we walk, Teacher asks me how my break is going and I tell him I’ve been meditating more, to which he nods with a knowing smile. And, when we reach the edge of the woods, he stops.
“Do you know where we are going? Have you been there before?” he asks.
“No, Teacher, I thought –”
“Very well. But do you know where we are going?” He repeats his question.
“You said it is a clearing through these woods.”
“As it is. It is a beautiful place where the colors are more alive than anything anywhere and the blades of grass sing with joy.”
What? But I dare not interrupt him.
“This place where we are going is a haven for the animals and, if we remain quiet, they will allow us to join them.” He pauses. “Do you still want to go?”
“Do you know how to get there?”
What is this game he’s playing with me? “No, Teacher. Don’t you?”
“No, dear one, I do not. I only know that to get there we must follow a path that’s been laid out by the ones who have gone before. The way is not difficult, but many temptations abound.”
“What sort of temptations could shake us off our path?” I ask. “I mean, wouldn’t it be easy to figure out if you’re getting lost?”
“You would think so, but The Way is not always as well-defined for some.” He goes over the rules he’s laid out for me in case we get separated along the way, making sure to hand me a compass similar to the one he holds. The arrow wavers briefly before locking into North. “Enjoy the flora and fauna of our nature walk, but never forget your goal. What is your goal, my dear?”
“To get to the clearing?” I say, wondering if, maybe, this is a trick question.
He nods and we step into the forest. In silence, we walk past beautiful flowers hidden in the partial darkness and small animals that typically hide from human contact. At times we get lost, but the promise of our North keeps us on course.
Suddenly, Teacher stops. “Many of us spend our lives looking for the right way, isn’t that so?” he asks, then continues, “I understand you were lost, my dear. Are you still?”
“Um, no, sir.” I have not left his side, what could he be talking about? Then I remember the last few weeks of the semester. The heaviness of my doubt attaches itself to my shoulder like a heavy winter cloak. I begin to slouch as my body betrays me. He taps my chin with his index finger and meets my eyes. I am found out. “Yes, sir. I just don’t know if I’m on the right path. Is this really where I want to be?”
“Only you could determine that. The Way can only be found if we are honest with ourselves and with all of those who share this journey with us.”
I’m still lost in his answer.
“Do you love your life, dear one?”
Nodding, “I am very happy, but I keep wondering if this shouldn’t be harder. Shouldn’t life be harder?”
“That is not for you to determine. The only place you can find your answer is right here,” he taps his chest. “The answer is in your heart. If you have love, the real kind, the love that moves mountains and crushes demons. If you feel that love for everyone who surrounds you, then it matters not how easy your life is. It is probably that way because of the love.”
The answer fills my heart with joy because, suddenly, I understand. “I have always had the answer to my questions of doubt, haven’t I?”
He smiles. “Do you think you will continue having problems now that you know you have the answer?”
I am not a fool. “Yes, sir.” I laugh. “But I will not give up, I promise that. I know what I want now.”
He nods. “You do, do you? And what is it you want?”
Pulling a trick from his bag, “I want to make it to the clearing to hear the blades of grass sing.” I smile, hoping he gets the connection.
Yeah, he gets it.
“If that’s the case, then you won’t need me. Call me when you do!”
With a lilt in his laugh, he twirls and becomes the dragonfly again, leaving me to find my own way to the clearing.
Until the next lesson, dear classmates.
Yours in love,
The Dragonfly’s Student